You Had Me at Hello: Phantasmagoric Theatre Tarot

Blog, Deck Reviews

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I am super excited to be working with this deck. From the moment I saw it online, I knew this was something I would enjoy immensely. The whimsical art, the specific tarot world that it portrays, the careful symbolism and philosophy–all seemed too good to be true. I purchased the deck and I am going to spend all of March working with this deck. I will be doing daily draws every day, and I intend to look into determinism (which is the central philosophy of this deck–that life is scripted and we cannot escape our fate) as well as reread Shakespeare’s Tempest, which, if I remember correctly, expresses the idea that life is like theatre. I read this in my university days and it will be interesting to revisit it again.

(On a side note, I regret not taking extensive notes and blogging about last month’s deck–Steampunk Tarot: Wisdom from the Gods of the Machine. It was my first time doing “deck of the month” for myself and I didn’t have a firm study system. I should have studied the Victorian society and the steampunk genre more!! Grrrr)

I haven’t finished reading the guidebook yet, but the concept of this deck and some of the author’s notes are already very interesting. The four key symbols depicted on the back of the card: a dice, the number 56, a puzzle piece and a question mark each represent the author’s central beliefs and are frequently referenced throughout the deck. The number 56 is apparently meant to be a political statement that states each of us is numbered by the time of birth. The dice represents the random occurrences and chaos that we are dealt and must experience until the final curtain drops. The puzzle pieces represent the connections that we make throughout our lives, and as our connections increase and grow, the world becomes smaller. The question mark represents the unanswered questions that we have in life.

The deck taps into an interesting metaphor throughout the cards–that life is theatre. Life is a play. Life is scripted, and we, as actors, can only play out our roles and make the best of what we are given. The events in our lifetime are predetermined by the plot that is in store for us, and we don’t really have the room to make drastic changes. Although, by tapping into the powers of tarot, we are able to make “minor adjustments” to avoid disasters that can cost us.

I don’t know if I agree with this view on life completely, but I do want to explore the metaphor further and see how I would personally interpret it.

So let’s start by examining the idea that life is scripted, and that we are given the script at the moment of our birth and our life is predetermined by what is already given. I looked into determinism briefly, and it is a concept that states there is no free will, and that our choices are merely a process of cause and effect–simple or complicated. To have free will means to have options, and that we are free to exercise those options. According to the rules of philosophical debate, free will is very hard to prove because it is mostly a feeling.

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So life is scripted. What is this script? I know many people believe that when a soul chooses to enter a body or a lifetime, the soul has a “contract” or a “plan” to experience certain things in life–to work through particular lessons, to connect with specific types of people, to go through “predetermined” events in order to achieve a spiritual effect etc. Perhaps, some of these lessons and objectives are carried over from our previous lifetimes, and we seek to complete our journey or fulfill what has not been fulfilled from our previous lives. For me personally, I don’t know how reality works, but this version of how a soul travels through physical lifetime kind of works for me. I don’t know if it happens like that “down to a tee”, but I believe in the concept of having a “general agenda” that is either “agreed upon” or “predetermined”–lessons or trajectories that we are meant to experience in a particular lifetime. So in this way, the idea of “life is scripted” kind of works, but I think I am deviating from the author’s intentions for this deck a bit since ultimately, we had a say in how we wanted our lives to play out, since we “decided” it and “predetermined” it ourselves before we are born.

Or, if we didn’t actively “choose” the life that we want to live, which may very well be the case–the idea that our souls carry imprints, signatures and lessons that are in need of resolving or healing or creating also works for me. So this aligns with what I currently understand about determinism–that our choices are determined by a series of causes and effects. Say that I am in a toxic relationship in this lifetime is because of the energies and lessons that I carry from another lifetime (or even just from this lifetime)–and that I need to go through the motions to “break the pattern” and to “learn the lesson”–then yes. Life is scripted. It’s scripted because what has happened to us before this present moment plays a role in determining what our experiences are going to be.

If we go with “life is scripted” metaphor–if there is a script, then there must be a writer, no? I cannot simply treat the script as a magical and absolute manifestation that will determine a person’s basic plot line–all the rising actions and the denouement and the final curtain. Like who writes the script? Who wrote the script? If the script is prewritten, is it our “souls” that determined what the script is going to be about? Is it our spirit guides? Is it god? Is it something else that’s bigger than us? Or again, is it simply “prewritten” because it is what we carry within our souls? But that is only if you believe in reincarnation or having several lifetimes, which I do, so I have to include in my discussion.

Either way, in my belief, be it spirit guides or our higher selves or whatever–it does not occur to me that the script is unchangeable. That’s like trying to rewrite my DNA. Who’s the writer? Perhaps there is no clear source of where this script came from, but I do believe that we play a role in changing the stories that we tell–or would that fall into the role and functions of an actor? We, as actors, perform according to the script, putting our own spin on it, expressing the lines we are given in our own way, making the best out of any situation. So perception plays an important role here. We can be dealt a shitty script, but we can still make it a brilliant play. So I guess this still plays into the idea of determinism, but it’s just that we choose to perceive our “play” from a place of empowerment and creativity.

Okay, so I want to go back to the script again. In my head, I do not believe that a script is something that is descriptive to the point that it knows exactly what we are going to wear on May 25, 2038. We’re not being bloody “scripted” like some mindless NPC’s in an open-world RPG game, for goodness’ sake. I think how I define a “script” for a person’s life would be exactly what I said earlier –like it contains the general trajectories, the big lessons and core concepts that we are supposed to experience and get in touch with in this lifetime, and how we experience it may take several physical forms. This aligns with the idea of script and literature…is it kind of like interpreting poetry, then? It’s more about how you perceive the symbolism and the imagery-and how you make meaning out of it?

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But I guess, the idea of a script for theatre is that the plot details and even some actions are dictated, which returns to the author’s idea of “fate”–that we are unable to alter the events that are destined to happen in our lives. We can only try to avoid the upcoming disasters through “minor adjustments”. That’s so fatalist! But I guess that’s the point *slaps forehead* That’s just so…negative. Like the entire framework posits that shit (and only shit?) happens in life, and we just have to deal with it, YOLO. Like the things that are “scripted”–the way it is written in the little white book that comes with the deck–it just feels like only “disasters” will happen and we should be lucky to have anything good in our lives at all.

That’s hogwash, sorry. That’s just so against my inner nature. I’m never one for spiritual bypassing or viewing life only through the lens of “love and light”–but like, my inner fibres are like, naturally fluffy and they’re made of sunflowers. Like I’m not trying to out-positive everything and ignore the negative aspects in life, but I like to look at the challenges or “disasters” in life from a place of strength. They’re challenges because they are a testament to how strong we can be. They are difficult because we are given an opportunity to rise to overcome those difficulties. I’m all about exercising our free will and agency–choosing what is best for ourselves to the best of our ability. Viewing life as inherently difficult and we just have to make do with what we are given and do our best to try to neutralize all the negativity–meh. It’s really not my cup of tea. Yes, shit happens, but we are stronger than all of those shit combined. We just have to choose to tap into our strengths and face our challenges head on. Am I right? Am I right?

Anyway, I digress. That’s enough about the script. I want to talk about the idea or the concept of actors. Like I mentioned earlier, actors have to follow the script, but they are also artists–they have their own voice, their own worldviews, and their own artistry and their own unique way of interpreting and performing the play. This taps into the idea of creative agency and that we are free to do whatever we like to the “material” we are given. (Hey–it’s not about what you got–it’s about what you do with what you got, right?) When it comes to acting, it is also a dedicated craft. There are skills you can learn and strategies you can internalize–so this inevitable includes the idea of practice and self-development. Now this is my cup of tea. We can choose to practice, focus and perform our roles better in the way that we want to.

This is totally not taking a deterministic turn. Sorry Cameron! Not following your script. 😛

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There is also the aspect of performance. Now this gets kind of interesting–because when actors perform, they must have an audience, right? Who are we performing for? For others? But if life is theatre, these so called “others” would be the other actors, right? The actors that are participating in the same story as us. Or these audiences could be the people that are not really within our life’s experience–people that are busy living their own lives, performing their own plays on their own stages? So, say you’re Bill Gates and you’re famous and inspiring–you may have a large (global, in fact) audience that attends your play because you are known to the world through your achievements, your work, and through media la di da.

The idea of performativity though–can this be a representation of the ego? When we’re not expressing our true selves–when we are not acting authentically or from a place of honest–we are “putting on a show” or we are simply “reacting” to our surroundings–living our lives on auto-pilot without without being aware of what’s really going on. Are we following the script at this point? Perhaps. Perhaps this is just another lesson that we need to learn. But say we cultivate awareness and spiritual autonomy, then we are making a conscious performance–would this be considered artistic? Creative? Because it is a true expression of ourselves and who we are as individuals?

Not sure where we are going with this. But anyway, I think “life is theatre” or “life is a play” is a fascinating metaphor.

Wait, who’s the director, then? WHO’S BEHIND IT ALL!? WHO’S THE PRODUCER THAT PUT ON THIS PLAY? WHO’S READYING THE PROPS AND STUFF?

I may be taking this too far. But right? Who’s directing this? Definitely not a solitary god playing SIMS–that’s not within my belief. Perhaps our…collective consciousness as human beings? Or our collective energies and desires as souls travelling through space-time, seeking to find our true selves and true experience?

Where do we go when the curtain falls, as actors? Well, death. Death is certain. Do we get shoved into another play? Do we choose to perform another play? Or do we decide to change our paths and pursue something else entirely?

Anyway. These are my thoughts and musings so far. I’ll update you on my progress once I’ve worked with this deck more–and also read the little white book. The court cards are actually characters (with names!) that the author has created. I’m sure Graham Cameron has more to say about each card he’s created–this seems like a carefully and meticulously crafted deck. I mean just based on the explanation that he gave about the symbolism on the back of the card–I anticipate more awesome details down the road.

The Bone Collector: Honouring the Dead, Grounding Myself in Truth and Reinstalling My Creative Engines

Blog, Level Up

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In this blog post, I want share with you some of my reflections on my business journey thus far, spurred by “The Bone Collector” card from Enchanted Map Oracle. Just so you know, I get pretty raw and personal in this blog post. Some highlights: grieving, creativity, energetic attachments, and realigning using the compass in my heart…then I end up with some poetic chants and somewhat “meditative” imagery, releasing myself to the process, and hopefully releasing you in some way during the process, too.  ❤

You may have noticed that I haven’t been very present on my social media or that I haven’t been actively creating content lately. But maybe that’s just me, feeling every inch of my absence, condemning myself for not being organized enough or competent enough to sort through my creative trajectories and find a focus. The truth is, I thought I knew what I was going to accomplish this year with Fables Den–I had everything mapped out and I knew what I wanted to bring to the table.

Earlier this week, however, I was all of a sudden slammed in the face with–blankness. Empty space–for lack of a better word. All of a sudden I didn’t know what I wanted to create for Fables Den. All of a sudden my current mode of organizing and approaching my business didn’t resonate anymore. I’m sure for those of us who run a creative business of any kind, or just anything we do in life really, would experience a temporary loss of direction despite having been so certain just moments ago. It’s funny because I knew things like this happen on a regular basis–logically, I know that challenges like this are bound to happen.

Still got spooked pretty hard, though.

Thinking back, throughout the course of my business journey, I don’t think I’ve ever allowed myself to feel disappointed, or to give Fables Den the space and room to breathe, or to really pause and thinking: am I just diving head-in, creating blindly, capitalizing on my workaholic impulses, feeling important for producing something–anything–

Am I just in love with the sound of my own creative engines–am I just pushing forward and living for that mechanical roar? Where does my heart lie? What do I really want to create? Am I being genuine? Am I an imposter? Am I just caught up with the wrong flow, trapped in the wrong vibe?

All of a sudden, there is an empty space before me–a void that I don’t know how to fill. It doesn’t make sense. It’s like I know where I want to go but I also don’t. Have you ever felt that way before? What do I want to do with Fables Den again? Yes. I want to teach tarot in a creative way. I like these topics: authenticity, creative expression, productivity, gamification…generally leveling up in life. I’m good at creating study and planning resources such as tarot worksheets, charts/organizers, and planner printables. I’m also good at coming up with creative tarot exercises. I also like drawing and doodling. I like to express the concepts of tarot with my art. But like–what’s my “brand”? What’s Fables Den’s “spirit statement”? It’s not completely a study den (my little business “tag line” used to be “spiritual wayfaring through tarot & creative storytelling”) and it’s not completely a wellness or personal development site either. What’s my punchline? “Level up with tarot?” (That’s a good one, actually, I actually might go with that)

Why am I doing this again? Of course I’m doing this because I love it. And there are so many things I want to try. A few months ago, I was struck by the idea of starting an alternative lifestyle and vlog channel called “Spirit Map”, because the idea of mapping your life in a way that is aligned with your spiritual needs seems like a fitting theme. And I have lots to talk about there. But is it going to exist outside of my “tarot realm”? Can’t it be both tarot and spirit map?

As you can see I’m having quite a bit of a “business identity” crisis and a complete loss of direction. So I did what all cardslingers would do when they are experiencing a business identity crisis and a complete loss of direction. I pulled some cards. I grabbed the Enchanted Map Oracle, because it seems like the perfect deck for losing your sense of direction. It’s got a badass mystical compass on its box and card back, for goddess’ sakes. And I got an unexpected card: The Bone Collector.

Interesting.

So I have a story to tell you.

The first thing that this card reminds me of is ancestry. The hanging skulls and the imagery of bones and stones that surround the old woman in a circle makes me think of family, and also honouring the dead. My father (both family and dead) is one of the reasons why I worked so goddamn hard for the past year, pumping out content after content and never feeling satiated by my efforts. I loved that man to bits. I still do. He was reticent, hardworking and goofy and he was the best. He passed from cancer in 2016 and became a free spirit on the Other Side. I didn’t want to lose him and it was so sudden and unexpected…and watching him get sick and going through treatment with him was the hardest months of my life, and during those moments I buried myself in Fables Den. I didn’t let myself breathe and I worked, I created, I wrote, I flimed Youtube videos, and I worked. I worked non-stop after he drew his last breath and I worked non-stop still throughout 2017. I suppose that was my way of coping with my heartache. I also suppose that I can no longer run my business with this creative autopilot fueled by sadness and grief.

Of course, there was plenty of “me” in there. I created the things I created because they were what I loved. There was nothing fake about the things I created, but I suppose I used my creative practice as a way to cope and escape and occupy myself. I needed something to create, so that my emotional and mental energies had somewhere to go. I needed a positive outlet and Fables Den had been that–to which I am grateful. I am glad that as I treaded on a path of chaos and trauma I was able to give, to create something genuine.

I suppose that as I honour this part of my history, I also need to put it behind me. Buried. Safe. Kept in a secure place in my memory, never forgotten, still a part of me, but no longer controlling me.

The second thing the Bone Collector reminds me of is truth. Bones represent truth to me because they are the most naked part of us. We can deceive with how we dress and appear to others, and we can deceive and manipulate using our voice, our expressions and our words. But the bone is the truest form of all. It cannot lie because it just is. The old Bone Collector sits in a sacred circle surrounded by bones and stones–now this is a relief to see because I feel that she is telling me: You know the truth already. The truth is you want to keep giving and giving so that you’ll feel a sense of importance. You want to be of service to others. You want to appear to be a creative powerhouse. The truth is you can no longer sustain this kind of giving because your Spirit wants to soar higher and do bigger and grander things. It cannot advance on its journey if you’re constantly weighing down its wings with your distracted creative shenanigans. 

The Bone Collector is telling me…and asking me…how much do you want this? How much do you want to succeed? How much do you want to see Fables Den soar and become what it wishes to become? And how can you do that if you’re constantly exhausting yourself and losing sight to what’s important–which is the manifestation of your dreams? How much more time are you going to waste on half-assing your commitment to your long term goals? How much more can you lie to yourself? 

Stop. 

Breathe. 

Sit with your truths. 

Ground. 

What are the truths that you stand on to reach higher? 

What are the energetic wires that you have cast, far and wide, in which you stay plugged in to the world, giving and giving and giving? 

Pull those wires back. Retrieve your energy. Strengthen your heart-space. Seek not the approval of your audience or the people around you, but the beating of your heart and the warmth of its glow. Where is your heart at? Install your engines there. Propel yourself forward from a genuine space of desire. Achieve true movement and lasting momentum. 

When flesh melts away, when thoughts cease, when your voice dim and when your experiences fade in colour–the bones remain, naked in truth and wisdom.

So collect your bones, Bone Collector. Soon, you’ll have a glorious display, a museum of the histories that you have made.

Have you experienced something similar in your business (or really just life in general) in which you feel like you don’t know where you want to go, even though you do? (This question is starting to seem like a complete no-brainer, isn’t it…) How would you interpret the Bone Collector? How would you power through this challenge, recentre yourself and reestablish direction? Share in the comments below!

I was going to say “I plan to share more stories like this from now on”, but you know what? Screw that. I am not “planning” to give anymore. I don’t “plan” to give anything. I don’t need to let you know how much I’m able to give. I give because my heart calls me to do so at any given moment. I give because I want to.

Anyhoo.

 

9 of Cups: The Triforce of Abundance & The Quest for More Wealth and Life’s Treasures

Blog, Level Up

triforce of abundanceHappy 2018, everyone! 

It’s been a while you’ve heard from me, but here I am: I LIIIIIIVE!!!

I hope you are all enjoying the new year, reeling in your resolutions and dreams, holding them in your heart as you venture forth to conquer yet another awesome 12 chapters of your life. I have no doubt that it is going to be awesome and epic and heroic. For me personally, the transition from 2017 to 2018 felt rather casual and uneventful. For the most part, it merely felt like a continuation of my narratives in 2017. If you’re up for hearing about my year end rituals and how I embraced the changing of the calendar, check out my latest Youtube video here!

But anyway. Enough about me. I want to share with you something awesome I’ve discovered–like literally minutes ago as I began brainstorming and drafting the content to this newsletter. I knew I wanted to say something about the new year, but what should my focus be? Indecisive, I drew a random card from the Magic Manga Tarot, which is one of the decks that I place on my desk for easy access and quick usage. I pulled the 9 of Cups, and immediately–the word that flashed before my mind’s eye was the word “gratitude”. Plan your year ahead with gratitude. And I thought to myself–genius! Of course. Gratitude!

In this post, I will show you how I intend to plan my year with the triforce of abudnance (Legend of Zelda, anyone?) or what I’ve decided to call, Treasure Mapping (yes Kim, we get it. You’re in love with the journey metaphor. Stop forcing it upon us!! )

The First Piece of the Triforce: Gratitude

Gratitude is one of the key ingredients to abundance. It is the first step, I believe, towards a richer and more abundant life. If we can’t appreciate the experiences, people and resources that we already have, how can we ever perceive our wealth in all its glory? Without gratitude, we would always fall into the bottomless pit of greed, lackness and insatiability. Abundance simply cannot exist without gratitude. Therefore, when we envision the kind of life that we want to create and the kind of abundance that we want to attract into our lives, we simply cannot move forward before we assemble a list of things that we are grateful for first.

What are you grateful for? As you reflect on your experiences in 2017 (or everything that’s ever happened in your life up to this moment in time–your choice. You can decide the scope of your contemplations), think about the things that you appreciate having in your life. What are some of the experiences and challenges that you have gone through–experiences that you are grateful for because they have allowed you to grow, or inspired you to be better, or motivated you to create more abundance in your life? What do you have to thank? What was an attitude or insight that was particularly helpful for you? Remember, this doesn’t have to be things that happened in your life. It could also be something that you’ve cultivated within yourself: a new sense of strength, purpose, a way to handle a difficult situation or person, or a piece of wisdom that you have gained.

26909039_10159706409755580_1858325366_oThe Second Piece of the Triforce: Luck

Once you’ve nailed down gratitude, what’s the next secret ingredient for creating abundance? When I think of gratitude, I simply cannot separate it from luck. While gratitude is appreciating the things that we already have in life, luck is something unexpected that has been injected into our lives, stirring up our old patterns and initiating change. Luck is new energy. It is something that’s outside of our perception, or an extension of something that we already want–or something we didn’t know we want! What we perceive as lucky or fortunate can offer us a lot of clues about what we are trying to accomplish in life, or the links that give us a vibrational spike. Because, well, luck is potential. It’s a spark of light illuminating the unlearned areas of our map, showing us the way to greater possibilities and imagination. It reminds us of our innate magic to achieve and create the life that we want to live, and it shakes up the boundaries of the mundane that encases our way of life and shelters us in comfort. It is a cosmic text message–it is the universe telling us, “Hey, I’ve got something that you want. I have more of it. Come and get it! *winky face*”

 “Luck” can be useful when we are trying to mark our maps for the new year and decide what we want to pursue. What are some the things that have happened–that you would consider as lucky? Did someone you know develop into an unexpected friend? Did you demonstrate a kind of courage, a side to you that you didn’t know exist within you before? What were the opportunities that you would consider to be lucky? Do you crave more of these experiences in the upcoming year, and how can you achieve it? How can you make that lucky moment a “constant” in your life?

The Third Piece of the Triforce: Generosity 

Since we are talking about luck, we must talk about the other side of luck that is part of the same “coin”. I’m talking about “generosity”, of course. More often than not, an act of generosity on one side can become a boon, a gesture of kindness or a lucky event to the other. I feel that generosity or an act of generosity has incredible creative power, because it is essentially rooted in one’s recognition and understanding that “I have enough for myself and I have enough to share.” It is a tremendous statement of abundance, and abundance aside, it is also a gesture of kindness and care for a fellow human being. The idea of paying it forward is a creative and collective act of expansion–a reality that is co-created by one that willingly gives, and one that receives and is vibrationally changed by this act.

What and how can you give to others? How can you give the gift of luck to someone you know (or don’t know)? How can you be of service and share your abundance so that it multiplies? How can you help someone’s life expand, and as a result, expand in turn?

The Triforce Pieces Assemble!

Gratitude. Luck. Generosity. I don’t know about you, but it’s honestly my Triforce of Abundance. The reciprocation, the cycle, and the movement of these three things are what guide me when I mark the treasures that I seek on my life’s map. These are the three main concepts that serve as the primary navigational arrows on my compass, guiding me towards the life that I want and the things I want to create.

What about you? How do you define gratitude, luck, and generosity? How do you define “abundance?” Click here to leave a comment because I would love to hear from you!

6 Tarot Spreads to Kick-start the New Year

Blog, Level Up, Productivity, Spreads

tarot spread jumpstart 2018 bannerNew year, new me, new resolutions, new quests, new energy, new direction, new map…just, NEW!! Now that the calendar has finished resetting, here’s a few energetically charged tarot spreads to give you a power boost and jumpstart the next 12 months, to connect with the big picture and plan accordingly, and to ground yourself in the story that is unfolding so that you can make the best out of 2018.

Some of the spreads that are included here are previously published on my Instagram, some are new and are just making their debut via this blog post, and one of them (just letting you know right off the bat) is a sneak peek into a collection of productivity-themed spreads book that I’ve created as part of the Productivity and Planning Toolkit, available on my Etsy shop for 25% off right now.  But anyhoo, all of these spreads are selected because they align with the theme of the new year: welcoming and inviting in new energies, getting pumped and ready, connecting with your authentic self and purpose, and planning ahead.

Alright, now that’s out of the way–let’s get started!

2017 Year Map

The Year Map Spread. This is my go-to when I want to gain insight and channel messages from the cards for the year ahead. The Year Map Spread serves as a forecast that will shed light to the major spiritual trajectories, attitudes and energies that encompass an entire year–energies that penetrate all areas of one’s life regardless of career, relationship or personal development. This is an ideal spread if you want to look at the big picture and the life lessons that are in store for you in 2018!

Next Level Spread

Next Level Spread: a gamified sequel to its previous chapter, Stage Cleared Spread, Next Level Spread is designed for you to look at life through the lens of an RPG game and its main objective is to help you download epic quests to complete, identify power-up’s and revamp your heroic profile so you’re all glorious and ready. It’s jampacked with the theme of confidence, self-empowerment and creative gaming concepts that can be applied to any endeavours you choose to embark on in life. You can use this for 2018, or you can use it for any ventures that you go on, really. A new job, a new project, a new relationship, a new month, or just any situation that arises.

Productivity Profile Spread.png

Productivity Profile Spread: This is one of my favourite spreads, ever! I believe that everybody has a unique way of being productive–and productivity means so much more than just mechanistically producing products and conquering time slots. (If you want to read more about tarot and productivity, I started a few blog posts on this topic as part of the “Fool’s Journey through Productivity” series…it’s still ongoing and I really need to find the time to finish it haha) But yes. This spread will help you isolate and identify your productive powers, and help you become productive in your own way + find a productive lifestyle that is rooted in your own strengths and your own work rhythms!

True Calling Spread

True Callings Spread: Another Fables Den classic! It’s a new year, and while you’re riding this new year wave and that rejuvenated sense of self–this spread is perfect if you want to reconnect with your purpose, your mission to be more authentic and to pursue your passions in life. This spread will help you connect with your soul waves and shine bright as you answer and honour its callings! Time to get manifestin’, baby.

evolve spread

Evolve Spread: This is a deep one–this spread will help you tap into your ancestral connections, explore how the narratives embedded and encoded within your DNA are affecting you and work on how you can transform these entrenched narratives. This is a spread that taps into the ultimate “cosmic bird view”, looking at your life as if it is part of a whole, looking at your core traits and narratives as a choice, a state of being–if that makes sense. If you’re really into it, this spread can transcend your concept of space-time, and the linearity of your reality. (Mindbent, yet?)

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Breaking Bad Habits Spread: Get it? Breaking Bad? Breaking Bad Habits? 😀 This is one of the doodled spreads that were part of my Tarot Spread Machine. Since usually we include a healthy or positive habit that we are trying to build (or a bad habit we are trying to break) as part of our new year resolutions, this seems a fitting selection to be included in this line-up!

keep calm and tarot on

Year Map, True Calling & Breaking Bad Readings are all available on my Etsy. ❤ If you’re interested in picking up a reading from me, make sure to check out my shop! If you want to find out more about me as a reader and how I read, click here to check out my Services and Policies page! 

10 of Wands: Fighting Through Creative Overwhelm + Tarot Spread

Blog, Creativity & Writing, Level Up, Productivity

10 of wands fighting through creative overwhelm blog picSucks to be human, doesn’t it?

To be stuck in a physical body that is only capable of moving in a linear fashion while multiple streams of creative energies, impulses and inspirations are fighting to come through you, shouting to get your attention, seeking to be born, to be manifested, to be brought into this world.

To be painfully linear. When our inner magic demands otherwise. When all we want to do is everything, AT ONCE. And we get frustrated when we have to divide our attention, to fragment our time and energy, to make sense of the flood of creative abundance that is coming through, to choose. How? How can we possibly choose?

Or rather, how can we choose the right one to focus one? How would we know?

Creativity is abstract. It cannot be boxed in, having no boundaries. It’s raw, it’s transformative, and it is stuff of life. If we could transcend the space-time that is our bodies, we would all be gods, worlds and dimensions springing from our fingertips. Alas, we are bound to earth’s physics. It’s a curse and a blessing. We are forced to sleep, to eat, to prioritize. We cannot achieve omnipotence and do everything at once. But we are of the stuff of gods. Creativity is in our nature. As human being, we are all born with the power to create. When it comes to creative overwhelm, the real challenge is really how to properly function as an incredibly creative being. How do we contain creativity? How do we organize it? How do work through the overwhelming pressure of creative potential, of things seeking to be born? And most importantly, how can we be productive with our creativity? 

Having a relaxed attitude and open mind can really help you reframe your frustration into something positive. 

If you are experiencing creative overwhelm, it is a sign that you are in the flow of overwhelming creative abundance. It’s a good thing! And something to be grateful for. You are experiencing creative overwhelm because you have cultivated enough space within yourself to open yourself up to creativity. This shows that you are coming from a place of real authenticity and intuitive flow. Think of it this way: instead of dealing with the usual psychological and emotional junk and tendencies that are derailing you from your highest good and honest creative expression, you are struggling to figure out what to do with your creative self. What a problem, right?

Understandably, these impulses are difficult to sort through because they are all a genuine part of you–and can you choose between parts of yourself when they are all, well, you!? Despite the challenge to generate focus and productivity, they are all a reflection of how strong your creativity is, how much you want to do with your life and how much potential that you see with all the trajectories that are being thrown at you, that extend into possible futures that speak to your heart’s desire.

All in all, you are starting at an incredibly righteous place!

Have a realistic understanding and concept of time, how time works, how much you are able to get done in a designated period, and how much time an activity actually consumes.

Most of the time, we are so concerned about productivity, we forget that everything inevitably takes time. When things take time, we lose patience because we lose our sense of progress. We feel like we’re either doing something wrong or not doing enough. We become extremely critical with our time management skills because we know that time is an unchanging commodity. We get 24 hours a day and that’s it, no special favors and shortcuts (and we have the same hours of Beyonce, for Goodness’ sakes!) Which means that when we’re not spending that 24 hours efficiently, we must be wasting time, no? Things can get very “blamey” and toxic from there, and we don’t want to get into that stressful thought-loop.We need to remember that we can measure our progress with a lot of things: for example, how much happiness and fulfillment we experience, how much useful data we have collected that can be of use later on in the future, how many ideas we have managed to sort through despite not having executed any of those ideas, how many social and emotional connections we have made…etc. These are few of the many things that can be used to validate creative progress and productivity.

Think long term.

If you are short-sighted with your goals, you become frustrated when you don’t meet those goals. For example, if you are running an online business and your goal is to “make money”, you become disappointed and discouraged when you don’t make any money because your designated “marker” of progress is money. And no money = no progress.

If you stretch your vision far enough, however, you will know that everything you are doing is for the growth and development of your online business, which includes many things: making money, building an online presence, discovering and growing your brand, creating engaging content, figuring out your creative vision, examining your journey, re-calibrating–these are all valuable “currencies” that may not appear to have met one or few of your goals, but you have to look at how your experiences and your efforts may have served you in the long run, or how they can be useful in different ways.

When you think long term, the decisions you make will become more meaningful because you understand that what you are doing right now are all various forms and levels of currencies that you are investing, which will pay off in different ways and feed off of each other in the future. Not to mention that when you think long term, you will make sure that you are spending your time and energy wisely and at the right places. Having a long term vision will really be a key feature that streamlines your creative and productive process.

Sorting through that bundle of “wands” like a boss. 

If you recall the RWS depiction of 10 of Wands, you will know how strenuous looking and back-pain inducing that picture is. It seems to portray arduous and difficult labour and burden. However, if you practice reframing this picture into something positive that presents a unique challenge (that you can overcome), your sense of pressure and stress will lighten up significantly. That dude has 10 wands at his disposal. Sure, he’s bitten off more than he could chew by trying to carry 10 of them at the same time (which I’m sure we all do with our grocery bags), but he’s still got 10 incredible power sources within his arms.

So if you’re suffering from creative overwhelm right now, all I can say is: keep calm and carry on. If you stretch the span of time far enough into the future–you will realize that this perceived “burden” is on burden at all. You can figure out how many wands you are able to carry and with how many trips. You can figure out the best ways to store those wands and to utilize their power. You can figure out when you are going to utilize those power and for what.

You can realize that creative overwhelm is, in fact, a sign of incredible abundance and quite honestly is a blessing disguised as a first-world problem curse. 😉

Does 10 of Wands also signify “creative overwhelm” to you? How do you interpret the 10 of Wands? Do you have any cool tricks or tips for dealing with creative overwhelm? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts below! 

And of course, here is a tarot spread to help you make sense of your creative overwhelm and power through it! xo

Creative Overwhelm Spread

Wrapping Up 2017: 6 Tarot Spreads to Help You Make the Best of Your Year

Blog, Level Up, Productivity, Spreads
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Honestly, 2017 went by in a blink of an eye. I cannot believe it is almost December. For me personally, this year has been a challenging year with hard and bone-deep lessons. I was called to ride the waves of my grief and losses, as well as face my inner demons at a cellular level. Phew. It’s been a thunderous heck of a year, and my deck of cards (khem, my numerous decks of cards…#notadeckjunkie) has been absolutely crucial in aiding my journey of self-discovery, self-love and healing.
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Some of the spreads I am going to share with you are spreads that I have used to ground and anchor myself in the face of challenge. Some spreads are newly designed to help you reflect on what has transpired in 2017 thus far, on how you have grown and what is your 2017 “punch line”. I hope these spreads will help you get the most out of your year, cultivate wisdom and empowerment, and level up! Here they are:

Into the Woods

Into the Woods: a spread for self reflection, deep contemplation and spiritual questions

  1. “At the Edge of the Woods” The spirit of the wood greets you, ready to take you on a journey. What is your purpose in entering this dream-space of deep contemplation and reflection?
  2.  “The Path into the Woods” What will help you navigate your journey as you traverse through the moonlit paths of your innerscapes?
  3.  The Wind in the Trees”: What are the energies that surround you?
  4.  “Reflections”: What do you see in yourself?
  5. “Relic from the Forest”: What is the wisdom that you must take with you when you leave the Woods?
  6. “At the Edge of the Woods, Once More”: How has the Woods or this Inner Journey transformed you?

Threshold Spread

The Threshold: a spread for exploring the important themes and lessons in 2017

  1. The Beginning: What were your visions and hopes at the beginning of the year?
  2. The Story of 2017: What is the overarching theme that defined the year of 2017?
  3. Challenge: What are the challenges that you had to face, the shadows or ego-based tendencies that you had to overcome in 2017?
  4. Lesson: What did you learn this year?
  5. Power-Up: What gave you strength? How did you power through the difficulties and challenges? What was your source of confidence and empowerment?
  6. Build: How can you use the powers you have “upped”, the lessons that you’ve worked through, the wisdom that you’ve gained to get ready for next year?
  7. Threshold of 2018: What is ending–and what is beginning? What are the new energies that are coming in for 2018?

Stage Cleared Spread

Stage Cleared: a RPG and game-themed spread for examining the “stats” and skills that you have accumulated  and reflecting on how you have grown and “leveled up” this year

  1. High Scores: Why are you worthy as the Hero or Heroine of your own story?
  2. Epic Replay: What has been your epic moment of glory and/or your defining moment?
  3. HP (Health Points) Increase: How have you grown in energy, vitality and purpose?
  4. MP (Magic Points) Increase: How have you grown in your ability to create and manifest your dreams?
  5. Attack Increase: How have you become better at problem solving and overcoming challenges?
  6. Defense Increase: How have you gotten better at coping with pressure, stress and negative inputs?
  7. Level Up! How have you grown as a person in general?

Epic Report Spread

The Epic Report: a spread for examining the various areas of your life. This spread can be used in many ways, depending on the overall theme that you would like to address. For example, you can use this spread as an annual “report” spread to get a general idea of how you did with each category. You can use this as a trouble-shooting spread and draw cards to see how you can level up in each area of life. You can also do a gratitude-themed spread and pull cards for things that you can be grateful for in each area.

Other suggested themes: ups and downs (draw 2 cards for each category), things in need of releasing, things in need of healing, advice, weekly/monthly/bi-annually check in’s, etc.

  1. Business/Career
  2. Relationships
  3. Health
  4. Finance
  5. Self-Development
  6. Spirituality
  7. Life Vision/Purpose

Synthesizer Spread

The Synthesizer Spread: a spread used to convert negative energy and input into positive and empowering energy

  1. The Blackhole: What has been a negative experience/source of negativity that is draining the life out of you?
  2. Filtering Suckage: How can you release and process the negativity?
  3. Extracting Energy: How can you grow from these negative experiences? What is a lesson you have learned and what is something useful you have extracted from this pool of negativity?
  4. Good Energy: What is a source of positivity that you can maintain or already have?
  5. Synthesizing: How can you convert the negative energy into positive energies and personal power?
  6. New Element: What is the brand new superpower that now exist within you?

Treasure Spread

Treasure Spread: a spread to help you tap into the energy of abundance and wealth by recognizing the treasures that you do have to attract more riches into your life

  1. Abundance: What already exists in your life that carries the energy of abundance?
  2. Gratitude: What is something you can be grateful for?
  3. Luck: What has been an act of synchronicity, a flash of miracle that has given you an “abundance boost”?
  4. Wisdom: What is a lesson that you have learned in your abundance journey?
  5. Generosity: How can you share the wealth and abundance that you already have?
  6. Love: How can you anchor yourself in the energy of love as you seek to expand with more abundance?

keep calm and tarot on

Both Into the Woods and Threshold are available on my Etsy. If you’re interested in picking up a reading from me, make sure to check out my shop! If you want to find out more about me as a reader and how I read, click here to check out my Services and Policies page! 

☆ Pet & Tarot ☆ Martha and Zena (Part One): cardslinging, reiki-channeling, and herbal oil blending

Blog, Pet & Tarot

 

Welcome to the very first episode of the Pet & Tarot Series! 🙂

In this post, award-winning artist, Certified Essential Oil Therapist and Reiki Master Martha Brown will share with you some of her experiences towards slinging cards for her dogs, and how she combines her essential oil and reiki practice to channel intuitive insights + give her pet “power boosts” and loving healing energy when she needs it.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your pet(s)!

I am 63 yrs. old and have always had one or two dogs in my life.  I am an award-winning artist, Certified Essential Oil Therapist and Reiki Master, and I live in Canada.  In recent years I have been self employed working out of my home, allowing plenty of time to give my pets tons of love and attention. 11 years ago we adopted 2 black lab/ German Shepard sisters at 8 weeks old. It was a real challenge to train them at the same time, but they have given us so many years of companionship and fun. Zena, who suffers from hip dysplasia now, is my constant partner. Her sister Zoey had to be put down last year due to Degenerative Myelopathy- her back end slowly became paralyzed. She had wheels to help her get around, extending her quality of life for an extra year and a half.

What are your thoughts on slinging cards for animals?

It’s a way to communicate with them. I believe that I channel information. It can come from my own guides, or that of other people, so it’s not that hard to imagine our pets having their own guides that can relay messages. So many times we wonder what our pets would say to us if they could talk. The cards can relay the messages.

If you were to assign one card to represent the personality of your pet(s), which would it be and why?

Zena has told me that she is the 10 of Cups right now because she feels all the love and has all that she needs. But she is also incredibly intuitive, often pulling me away from negative situations/people or reminding me that I am being distracted by something that is eating into my time. So in many ways she is also the Moon. I think the cards that represent them can change over time, based on circumstances – the same way different cards can represent humans at different times in their lives.

Aside from forms of divination (such as tarot cards, oracle cards and pendulums etc), are there any other spiritual, energetic, or holistic practices that you have with/for your pet(s)? E.g. reiki, chakra healing, essential oils etc. What are your experiences?

I often have performed Reiki on both of my dogs. With this kind of therapy, one always must ask for permission first. I hold my hands at a distance of about 1 ft. and ask, do you want this? They will either roll over, nudge my hand, relax or walk away. Dogs know what they need better than we do. They will also walk away when they have had enough. I do know that the heat from my hands and the energy I channel helps them on some level. And if nothing else, they have just basked in the attention they are getting! I use Tarot and Oracle cards to have a conversation with them  and have made some very mild Essential Oil blends to use as insect repellants, shampoo and conditioner blends, skin treatments and aromatherapy. Dogs’ sense of smell is 40 timest that of humans, so we have to be careful to not overwhelm them with scents.

Do you think animals make better tarot readers or diviners (hehe)? Why or why not?

I really don’t think Zena would be at all interested in reading cards.  Well, maybe If cheese was involved, J, but otherwise, she’d rather go for a walk.  Although this question does have me wondering what might happen if I laid a few cards dow in front of her – if she would point her nose toward one!

I do know that animals communicate with us based on visual information – either what they see in front of them, or the images you project to them. Words don’t really apply to the communication process, however tone of voice is something they are definitely sensitive to. They don’t dwell on the past or feel sorry for themselves. They learn from experience and have very simple basic needs that are very important to them and as pack animals, they thrive on companionship.

What is an interesting reading that you have done for your pet(s)? What question did you ask? What cards showed up? What were their message?

I took a class at a local new age bookstore last year on Animal Communication. We were paired up into groups of 4 and shared pictures of our pets. At least 2 at the table would practice “reading” your pet from the image provided. My pictures had both dogs in them, showing Zoey in her wheels. We didn’t have Tarot or other cards to support what we sensed. One woman that read my dogs let the images get in the way of the truth. Zena, the one with hip dysplasia, was the one in pain – not Zoey in her wheels who had back-end paralysis. She even drew the teacher aside for a private conversation in a closet~! before she would tell me what she saw. She jumped to several conclusions about my dogs until I explained the situation. When I got home, I looked at Zena and asked, what do you make of all that? I drew a card. It was the Moon reversed. Zena looked at me with those big brown eyes –  like, “Martha, she is just plain NUTS and you know better.”

It was a very matter of fact, practical, no nonsense exchange between the two of us.

Stay tuned for Part 2, in which Martha shares with you her thoughts on how you can interpret tarot cards in an animal reading! 

Call for Submission: Pet & Tarot

Blog, Pet & Tarot, Tarot

DOWNLOAD Q&A

23601964_10159443652620580_1875958409_n (1)Animal tarot readings have always fascinated me, and I honestly feel like it isn’t explored enough as a topic in the tarot community!

For me, I pull cards for my cat to check on his mood regularly, and though it is not absolute, tarot has helped me gained better insight and understanding when it comes to anticipating my cat’s mood and figuring out where his boundaries are.

I realize my own experience with animal tarot readings are quite limited, however. I could pull cards for a friend’s adorable puppy, but I would never understand that dog as much as my friend does. I’ve never lived with a dog before, never had to take care of a dog, and never had any first hand experience with them on a long term basis.

And the animal kingdom is vast. How about other pets? Non-domestic animals that live in the wild? For me, I definitely believe in using cards to improve our relationship with the animals around us. Animals are incredibly connected to our reality. They are very telepathic and much more tuned into energy and nature, and they are definitely more than just “animal organisms that are less intelligent than the human species”. Perhaps that is where we have erred: to evaluate and judge life based on how intellectual they are.

How can human cardslingers use tarot as a tool or gateway to gain better understanding of their animals, and to improve the relationship that they have with each other? How can we become more connected to nature and animals, to tap into the experience that all living beings share with a deck of tarot cards? Those are the questions I am asking and that is why I want to collect stories and experiences. I want to explore this fascinating topic with the rest of the tarot community, with other tarot lovers who are also animal lovers.

Submission Info!

So if you’re a cardslinger and you happen to pull cards for your animal(s) regularly or once every blue moon, and you totally feel like talking about it, please download the following Q&A! Answer as many questions as you want (there’s quite a few, so just pick the ones that speak to you–or do them all!) and once you are done, submit it to Fables Den. Your content will be published on this website as part of an ongoing series Pet & Tarot! 🙂

If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me an e-mail! fablesden [at] gmail [dot] com. Sorry for the anal spacing–I am trying to avoid spam!

5 of Cups: #spiritualistproblems

Blog, Level Up

 

5 of cups blog feature imageIn a hurry to move on.

The 5 of Cups can be a pretty upsetting card. It’s about disappointment, emotional disharmony, and loss. I’m sure the “well, there are still two cups left standing” is often the “glass half full” version of the positive message that we are able to channel from a “downer” card like this. Each card has its light aspects and shadow aspects. Even the nigihtmarish 9 of Swords and 10 of Swords have a happy ending: all nightmares come to an end, and the worst is already over.

While I agree with all of those sentiments, there seems to be this urgency to move forward. To look on the bright side. To continue on with our narratives. To build our strengths and to continue to be okay. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

Spiritual perfection. 

I’ve been thinking, though. How about–if you draw the 5 of Cups, or a card that is inherently “darker” and portrays the negative emotions in life–instead of saying  “you are going to experience the 5 of Cups” or “you are trapped in cycle of disappointment” or “you need to cultivate more positivity in order to appreciate the abundance that you already have in life–”

It simply means, “Yeah, I’m upset.” Or, “Meh.”

I realize from my own experience and readings I have given that…for those of us who are pursuing a spiritual path and seeking personal growth and development–those of us who are actively leveling up to become the best version of ourselves–we really give ourselves a lot of shit for feeling bad, don’t we? Because we’re not supposed to be trapped in a negative emotional pattern over and over again. We’re not supposed to experience anything low-vibe because it’s bad for us. We’re supposed to have achieved this level of confidence already. Haven’t we already learned this lesson!? How are we still trapped in these uncanny energetic frequencies, faced with the same or similar challenges, having to deal with the same types of shitty people, or bothered by unshakable shadow triggers?

The perfect emotional trajectory.

The perfect emotional trajectory for us would be to experience something, to realize and reorganize the truth and wisdom within ourselves, to grow from that experience, to grow as a person, and to feel better and confident henceforth. We’re supposed to be able to move on quickly, efficiently, easily. We’re supposed to be good at this, because we are spiritual! We are evolved! We worked hard to get to this point in our practice!

Our desire to become better as spiritual people can really take a toll on our existence as still-humans, can it not? It’s almost funny and ridiculous to think about. What we struggle with sometimes as spiritualist is not being spiritual enough. I remember when I broke up (for lack of a better word) with a person whom I have shared a decade of friendship with, I was eager to move on. I didn’t want to feel bitter and stabbed in the back because it was low-vibe. It wasn’t worth my time. It stopped me from growing spiritually. I was supposed to be forgiving. Caring. Non-attachment. Practice non-attachment. I am better than this. I want to be better than this. Ohhhhhhhhm. 

Guess who’s been giving us a whole lot of shit?

It’s us!!! In our attempts to not feel like shit or deal with shitty situations anymore, we give ourselves SO MUCH SHIT for giving too much shit to a shitty person or situation…(as I’m writing this, I’m aware that I have been quite excessive with this “shit” metaphor. It’s funny and practical so I don’t really mind, but I swear, SWEAR on my pinkie that this is a temporary infestation. For those of you who are bombarded by the amount of toilet humour you’ve been getting across my social media channels, I apologize. I hope you’ve had a good laugh, though.)

What’s wrong with feeling like a curled up ball of upset!?

Nothing, really. I’m sure you’ve heard this before already. “We’re all human.” And I bet most of us would feel this tiny pang of rejection and “hmmph!” towards it. (Admit it, you!) Don’t worry. I get where you’re coming from. To be spiritual means we want to be more. More than average. More than who we were yesterday. More than human. That’s what drives us to be spiritual people and to grow. But feeling bad, upset, “meh”, disappointed, lost, insecure…those emotions needn’t be an indicator of our lack of progress, or evidence pointing towards our devolution. Being on a spiritual path isn’t about not meeting monsters or ghosts or shadow creatures or challenges at all. It’s not about never feeling upset as if we are enlightened beings wandering around with an ethereal aura that protect us and separate us from frequencies that aren’t meant to enter our field of reality. If you’re enlightened and done with being human–what’s the point then, in being human, right?

Feeling upset is part of the fun. Feeling disappointed is also part of fun. I know that seems like a weird sentiment, but hear me out. Those bad feelings or expeirences make us feel like shit but they are a testament to our experiences: the fact that we have loved, the fact that we have cared deeply about something, the fact that we are changing, growing, and becoming. If we aren’t rippling with those emotional waves that pass through us, if we only drift one side and not the other–then we might as well be on an automated theme-park ride, a two dimensional journey devoid of choice and growth.

So be upset. Be all kinds of upset. 

And wallow in your sadness. Mope. Cry ugly tears. Binge-eat a box of strawberry chocolate donuts. Pull your hair out (not literally, please.) Hold space for your emotions, your feelings. The whole spectrum of it. Every colour of the rainbow. Let those colours exist within you. No matter how dark or how bright your experiences are, you know that you are still the same. You’re still you, journeying and navigating through life. You are a spiritual wayfarer. You journey not to complete your map. You journey to expand it, to discover new lands, to become a better navigator and traveler, to become more of yourself.

Self-Love September 2017

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Re: Self-Love September 2017 hosted by Kelly-Ann Maddox

If you didn’t know already, Self-Love September (SLS) is an event, a movement that is created by the sassy unicorn Kelly-Ann Maddox. Her passion, sincerity and wisdom on self-love has truly motivated me to delve into my own rich innerscapes, deeper and deeper, in search for a profundity and appreciation for all that I am. And as I re-surface, having taken a trip to the depths of my soul, I am inspired to share what I have learned and acquired on these transcendental journeys.

During the month of September, Fables Den will be saturated with SLS goodness. Check out the ideas and resources that I’ve put out for this year’s self-lovin’–scroll down to the bottom of the page for journal prompts, meditation and visualization guides, tarot spreads, and adorable tarot art all in the spirit of Self-Love!

VIDEO: How I first began my self-love journey and how I define self-love

VIDEO: how you can cultivate self-acceptance and learn to navigate your personality

RESOURCE: “Personality Compass” tarot spread 

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RESOURCE: 10 Journal Prompts for Cultivating a Better Relationship with Yourself 

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RESOURCE: Cosmic DNA (purpose + personal power)

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Awesome Finds & Tarot Treasures

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Hey guys! I am mostly writing this blog post for selfish reasons. I need a centralized place to keep track of (I mean, share) my awesome findings on the internet so I can purchase them all later (I mean, encourage other tarot peeps to support fellow tarot creatives and artists).

The Coffee Tarot Kickstarter Campaign

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First and foremost, if you haven’t heard about Team Boyer’s (Janet and Ron Boyer) Coffee Tarot Kickstarter, you have got to go check it out. (It ends in 3 days, guys, so hurry up!) It’s actual caffeine PLUS spiritual caffeine (hehe). Who doesn’t want to channel their intuition through the magic of coffee beans? Just imagine: you’re drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, waking up to the delicious aroma, doing a daily draw for the rest of the day using the Coffee Tarot. Brew-tiful! Above are two of my personal favourites so far, and they both happen to be in the Suit of Earth (Pentacles). There are more images and previews (including the lovely courts! I just love the Knights class–represented by tumblers!)

The New Arcana – An Original Tarot Card Deck made for Modern Times

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This was an accidental and delightful find. The deck creator, Debbie Fong sells pins, stationary, collectible cards, vines, and comic books on her Etsy shop, POMMO Press. Everything is super adorable and not to mention that there is a Vegan Doughnut Card in this contemporary, reinterpreted major arcana! The New Arcana is majors only, but boy am I drooling with tarot lust right now.

Professional Pam’s Urban Divination Deck

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I came across this deck because a good friend of mine went to the VanCaf recently (The Vancouver Comic Arts Festival) and picked up this deck from the artist herself. It is also available on her Etsy shop, Pam Wishbow. It is a 32-card oracle deck featuring monochromistic and “doodlesque” (my ability to describe art is very limiting, so check out the original listing for more pictures…!) illustrations of little things that you encounter in an urban setting, such as The Roach. The name “Professional Pam” also gives it a steampunky feel–and me like stteampunk. So me like this deck.

Food Fortunes

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Alright–last but not least! If you are into the idea of divining what’s for dinner, or you just have a hard time deciding what you want to eat, here’s the perfect oracle for you. The Food Fortunes by Josh Lafayette. It’s a FULL DECK, with 78 illustrated cards of yummy food arcana and delicious court cards. In fact, I think I’m going to buy it because it looks like the price has dropped and it is really whetting my appetite! Hehe. It is available via Amazon, so purchasing is super easy! Not to mention that if you have Prime (I do–or shall I say, my brother does, and I am a tiny parasite on his account), it’s basically free 2-day shipping!

That’s it for now, folks. 

So this concludes my shopping list–I mean, my awesome finds that I wanted to share with you all for now. Hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if there are other indie-published deck or other awesome finds that I need to know about!! 🙂

King of Swords and A Lesson in Forgiveness

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King of Swords surprised me with a lesson in forgiveness. 

It’s probably because he is the most unforgiving king out of the four kings; am I right? King of Cups will forgive you if you are truly and authentically sincere, King of Wands will forgive you if you continue to validate him through your worship, and King of Pentacles will set aside your differences if you are still able to contribute to his cause and if your goals are aligned.

King of Swords, on the other hand? King of Swords stands completely realized and actualized in his truths. Having inherited the Suit of Swords’ polarized worldview, it’s highly unlikely for him to change his mind about something or someone. Once he’s made his decision–once he’s arrived at a logically processed and meticulously calculated conclusion–then it’s settled. He has passed his judgement, and his judgement is, more often than not, quite final.

King of Swords can be rather unforgiving. 

Just like us. We from time to time can be unforgiving. And feeling “unforgiving” doesn’t necessarily need a trigger, an antagonist, or an opposing force. It could simply be a refusal to let go, or the inability to move forward with the resentment and judgement that you have for someone or something. It’s especially difficult when you have been bullied, wronged, mistreated or abused., and the other party isn’t available for a healthy, constructive and peaceful resolution/closure. Often, we tell ourselves that we weren’t wrong–we aren’t wrong to pass judgement, since we were the ones who were wronged.

King of Swords is so precise and so articulate. When that kind of archetypal force becomes fixated on the wrong thing…it’s a recipe for unresolved rage, brewing indignance, and perpetual hatred. King of Swords don’t really care about repairing his heart when he’s trying to move on. He owns a sword. A sword is used to cut and draw blood. It’s an inevitable bloodbath when that distorted rage becomes unleashed upon others, and it’s excruciating torture when that sword turns inwards and digs into one’s innards.

King of Swords’ Shadow: letting go of judgement. 

Personally, I feel like when King of Swords falls into his shadow side, he is basically a tyrannical baby trapped in a never-ending loop of cynicism  He can orchestrate the most elaborate blame-game and participate in the most sophisticated drama, all in the name of justice and self-righteousness. Really, what it is: self-victimization. When we seek to move on through diminishing others, through judging others to be wrong, through holding a polarized stance: it stops us from growing. Even if we’re right, you know? Even if everything we said turns out to be the truth. Even then. It can be so…empowering, to label ourselves as the victim, right? It gives us the right to judge, to rant, to blame. It gives us a false sense of power. It makes us feel like the King…of Swords, high up in his throne, defending and protecting his truths and boundaries.

Connect with the King of Swords as King, not as a Tyrant. 

When King of Swords shows up, I know he is telling me to stop judging and just let go. Forgive. Stop being so mad all the time. Stop complaining. Stop bitching about how people have hurt you. Stop listing reasons of why you are right and why the other person is wrong. You’re perpetuating your own misery. Forgiveness isn’t a game. It’s not a power struggle. If you’re acting like King of Swords on a power-trip, then you should reestablish your connection with this court card. Not as a tyrant, but as a king. A king cares for his subjects and the well-being of his kingdom. If you’re on his light side, his “king” side, you should care about your own well-being, too. A king can’t do good work for his kingdom, his subjects and his people when he is busy waging wars and cutting down those who oppose him. A king can only do good work when he is fair and balanced. Similarly, we can only do good work when we are fair and balanced.

So forgive. 

Forgiveness, after all, is for giving. It’s about giving yourself space. Giving yourself freedom. Forgiveness is a space you hold for yourself. You cultivate that space so you have more room for the things that make you happy, for things that enrich your life, and for things that allow you to evolve and grow. So why not take a step back and make space? Why not make space so you can hold it, feel into it, and welcome it? Why not?

How about you? 

Have you ever had a moment when you feel like the Tyrant of Swords, instead of the King of Swords? Where all you wanted to do was to point fingers, to assert your own justice, to prove people wrong, to invalidate them? Are there moments where you could have judged less, where you could have taken a step back to make room, to reveal an vast open sky–a soft breeze in your heart?

Do you think you are finished, DONE, with being pent-up and angry, once and for all?

International Tarot Day Deck

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INTERNATIONAL TAROT DAY DECK

If you didn’t know already, I am among the many amazingly talented artists that are part of the International Tarot Day Deck project. (Sorry, I realize that sounds like I am tooting my own horn. I am one of the greats! Woohoo! I just meant that I am honoured to be part of this group that houses many awesome talents! 🙂 )

Anyway. We are preparing to launch the first ever International Tarot Day that isn’t trademarked or affiliated, we are calling on the collective passion of tarot enthusiasts everywhere as well as the power of social media to make this official and global. Special thanks to our Boss Wonder Woman Janet Boyer who gathered everybody, organized everything and made everything possible!4 of Pentacles Submission by Kimberly M. Tsan

For me, I took on the 4 of Pentacles, as you can see above. It didn’t really take long for me to come up with the design. To be honest, I didn’t really think much. I just picked up a pencil, did a rough draft of the design, and intuitively built on what I had. I knew that I couldn’t draw too technically (my utter lack of understanding of proportions on an artistic canvas prevents me from drawing anything realistic) and I physically wouldn’t be able to draw something against a backdrop or a landscape (this was before I discovered layering via digital drawing softwares!)

So really, what happened was, I simply followed my heart and drew what felt right to me–trying my best to capture the symbolic massage of 4 of Pentacles.

4 of Pentacles has always been a card of productivity for me. The traditional RWS tarot portrays a miser and constipated looking (khem, sorry) man sitting on his throne, guarding his treasures and refusing to budge. There is a feeling of inflexibility, stubbornness and rigidity. I think those qualities do surface when we anchor ourselves too much in our routines and our possessions. Possessions–exactly that word. It becomes possessive when we refuse to behave in a way that is outside of our comfort zones or our established system.

But yes, 4 of Pentacles is about exactly that–an established system. It is a system consisting of our routines, our ways of being, our patterns of thinking and doing things that reflects who we are as individualsAnd most importantly, they reflect how we work as individuals. In this way, 4 of Pentacles is the epitome of productivity for me. It’s what we have intentionally cultivated, habits we have fallen into, the lifestyle that we lead–the things that define how we “work” and “function” on a day to day basis. And the things we choose to dedicate our time and energy reveal what we value in life.

With that in mind, I knew I wanted to honour the spirit of 4 and create 4 pillars, or 4 aspects of our life that are important–things that will enable and empower us to “function” at our optimal.

Trying to add a touch of personal fair without getting too personal, this is what I came up with:

  • The Mewnicorn, representing imagination, inner child, laughter, and magic
  • The Anchor, representing groundedness, security, core beliefs, and existence
  • The Cutesy but Creepy Creature, representing our shadow aspects. Often, we try to coax it or overlook it as something harmless, but it is also a frightening force in our psyche
  • The Wings, representing freedom, potential, empowerment, and possibilities

These four symbols surround the 4 pentacles that are situated in the centre, locking in the idea of productivity living and the spirit of 4 of Pentacles channeled through my artistic vision.

I am very happy with how it turned out. I remember marveling at the magic of artmaking and creativity. In a short period of time, I have already grown so much. I have met so many talented individuals who are taking part in this project and I truly felt a sense of belonging and community. It was great. And do you know what is the most wonderful and precious gift that I have received from taking part?

After I signed up, I actually nearly quit because of the sheer stress, anxiety and insecurity that I went through.

I honestly didn’t think I could do it–what was I thinking…a tarot card? An actual tarot CARD? I CAN’T DRAW!! I can blog about the tarot card; that I can do. But actually illustrate one? Impossible. None-sense!! I was running in circles in my head-space, growing increasingly neurotic and stressed out about my epic suckage.

Long story short, I decided to stay, of course. And staying has honestly been one of the best decisions that I had made. If I didn’t say, I would never unlocked the “skill tree” of creating digital art. Taking part in this tarot deck has created a chain of events that allowed me to connect with my inner visual artist and enabled me to start to build the skillset and vision that I needed for one of the dreams that I’ve always had: and that is to create a tarot deck of my own.

Without taking part, I would never have thought that this was possible. I had always thought about searching for my tarot “soul mate”, someone who shares the same view as me but you know, could draw, haha. I guess I no longer have to look. That person is right here, with me, inside me. 

SO YES! I am going to create my own tarot deck!

It is a project that is already underway. I will talk about it in another blog post, but words cannot express how grateful I am for this experience. Truly truly grateful. With this experience, I got to know about myself a little better. I discovered a skill I didn’t know I had. I opened up a new lane of creative and artistic expression that I wasn’t aware of before. The tremendous potential and gratitude that I feel right now…I feel like a humble Kimberly-whale swimming across a profound, wide ocean. I thought I was just a small fish, but as I expanded to become more of me and into the awareness of a whale…I can dive deeper into the ocean. I can have bigger reign in the creative realm that I dwell. I can be more of…me. I don’t just own a tiny part of the ocean, but the entire ocean and its depths.

I know it’s a strange metaphor, but that’s how I feel. A whale, slow moving, graceful, at ease, big, expanded, so full and fulfilled.

Don’t forget to visit our website to check out other amazing tarot creations and find out about the awesome artists that participated! Click the image below: 

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It’s here! Sign up for the Den Newsletter + receive a FREE copy of my new e-book! (limited offer)!

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Everybody, please give a warm welcome to the newest Den member! 

My e-book, Tarot Beginnings: An Introductory Guide to the Story and Study of Tarot, is finally completed and is ready to meet the world. it’s coming your way, so greet it with a smile for me. 🙂

For a limited time only, I am giving away my book for free (reg. $9.99 CAD. Note: price has been updated). If you sign up for the Den Newsletter before June 18th, you’ll receive a link to download a copy of my book.  It’s a 116-paged e-book jampacked with tarot nerderies, exercises & activities, original spreads and more. It is both a guide for the study and exploration of tarot through a fun, creative storytelling lens. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE

Cover Image

This e-book has taken its time readying itself for the debut. In fact, it presented itself as a one-month project, a quickie guide book that I sought to complete in a week or two before I proceeded to “pretty it up” with formatting. As I worked, Tarot Beginnings smirked, patted me in the back and announced that it wasn’t a 25-pager–it was, indeed, a 116-pager. Well! I was flabbergasted, but also felt honoured that it chose me to fulfill its destiny, to give it shape and form.

On a random note, I’m sorry if you’re not used to this “my book is alive” crazy talk haha. Most writers or creatives are guilty of it. We talk about our creations as if they are our children, or an actual entity that has chosen to partake in our lives.

Other than the freebie, why sign up for the newsletter? What’s in it? 

The Den Newsletter is where I plan to centralize my updates across my social media platforms by theme. For example, if you follow me on Youtube as well, you’ll know that I usually would time-block the content I am creating. I pumped out a bunch of videos for “A Tarot Story” all at once, exploring the minor arcana and the cards. This is going to be a  more consistent trend because it makes sense for me to organize things thematically. For the next few months, I plan to create more tarot study tools and study-themed content across my social media platforms, and then around October or November, I will probably be pumping out some tarot writing content, since November is National Novel Writing Month. 🙂

And of course, exclusive offers & content such as deals, promotions, journal prompts, tarot exercises & activities, and printables. Fables Den is tarot-nerd-centric: it is a den of tarot magic and tarot study, so the newsletter will reflect that and give you additional study resources or tarot stationary. Gotta make this newsletter ultra special since it goes out (probably) once or twice a month.

A bit of behind the scenes and meta stuff if your’e just wondering what I’m up to in the Den corner, what projects I am working on, what I’m brewing up in my creative cauldron, what are some of the upcoming publications you can keep an eye out for, or what I’m currently mulling over when it comes to my humble place in this universe.

So yeah. Lots of good stuff and vibes are coming into Fables Den. 🙂

For example, be prepared to meet new characters that dwell in the Den: the Mewnicorn, The Digital Owl, and the Woodland Fox. (You’ve probably seen the Mewnicorn already…she’s on the Fables Den logo and banner right now…hehe)

I got so many things I want to create and give to the world–so keep checking back in! 🙂

*bear hugs* OOMPH!

Kimberly M. Tsan

A Tarot Spread for a Tarot Reader

Blog, Tarot

Hello fellow tarot readers and wayfarers. After posting my original tarot spread on Instagram, I was so happy to see that so many people are enjoying and benefiting from the spread! I actually performed this reading a while ago but decided to post it as well since so many people are. Also, I am posting it here because Instagram couldn’t handle my wordiness, and as somebody who is wired to be wordy, I had no choice but to turn to WordPress…haha.Anyhoo. Here goes:

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1-Purpose: Why do you want to read for others? 4 of Swords

I’d like to think that my readings are like little moments of respite-tiny stops or resting places for people on their unique journeys of life. I always feel like if I can help people to take pause and see themselves differently and cultivate a perspective that has more light in it, more acceptance, more flexibility, and more understanding-then I feel like I’ve done something awesome and I’ll be quite happy.

2-Light: What is your biggest strength as a tarot reader? Emperor

I was REALLY surprised to see the Emperor. I always see myself as lacking the Emperor archetype because I used to struggle with personal authority and boundaries a lot. Maybe I am more capable than I think-Emperor represents the autonomy and productivity of his “kingdom”-and I actually do have a lot to share about becoming more productive + becoming better at “being ourselves” and “ruling our own personal kingdoms”.

3-Shadow: What are some negative attitudes or beliefs that may hinder you as a reader? Strength

I need to learn to stop caring about what other people think of me (sigh, don’t we all?) I often struggle with how young I look (esp. in professional settings) since sometimes I feel like I have to work harder to prove myself worthy or capable-or that people would judge me for the way I look. But I am capable, and not only that, my youthful look reflects a big part of who I am, which is being an animated big kid who loves to have fun and goof around. I don’t need the world’s approval to be who I am.

4-Homework: How can you improve and grow as a tarot reader? King of Swords

I frequently do things on a whim. While I am pretty good at productive planning, I realize with this card that a lot of the creative work I do or creative habits that I have lack a “system”. E.g. picking a fixed date to publish, being more strategic with my choices, maximizing opportunities etc. I also change my mind a lot (if you’ve been following my blog, you know how often I change banners LOL) So I think I need to lay down some groundwork and “rules”. On the contrary, I probably need to stop feeling like I need to present myself in a certain way, or everything I do needs to conform to some kind of ideal that is supposed to represent the whole of my being. I should allow things to flow more and create + work organically with my goals.

5-Treasure: How would your tarot practice help you grow as a person? 9 of Pentacles

Independence and autonomy. Investing time and effort and energy in my creative and spiritual work really allows me feel like I am doing something meaningful with my life. It’s a direct reflection of who I am and I am always in the process of becoming more–more of “me”, which can happen in the form of personal growth, or business growth. I am so happy that many more people are resonating with Fables Den and are enjoying what I’m creating. So thank you so much for checking out my stuff and participating in the spreads that I made! 🙂

Aaaand I think that’s it. Doing this spread has been incredibly insightful. Being a tarot reader definitely isn’t an “isolated” experience: as in like, our “tarot reader self” isn’t compartmentalized and separate from the other aspects of ourselves. It is deeply connected with our sense of self and what we have learned as a person. In a way, we “read” our lives so that we can unearth the treasures within our narratives. We collect those gemstones not to share with others or with people who come to us for a reading–we learn what those gemstones look like so that when we recognize them in the soul of another, we point them towards the right direction so that they may unearth their own treasures and see themselves in a new light.

I know, I know. I keep switching banners.

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So I did it again. I’m slightly apologetic and self-conscious, since constantly switching faces seems to imply a feeling of uncertainty, which generally seems to be a negative thing. And if you were to make that assumption, you would be right because I, indeed, am feeling a little bit uncertain.I keep trying to “settle”. I keep trying to define what this blog this. I’m trying to capture its spirit, its core. I want people to know exactly what and who Fables Den as soon as they meet each other’s eyes. I want it to live up to itself.

That’s a lot of expectations. I don’t think Fables like that. People talk about branding: branding for your blog, for your business, for your services, blah blah blah. It’s like the digital handshake, the professional smile-the first impression you put out to please whoever happens to pass by. You lock eyes. You introduce yourselves. You exchange cards. You keep on going with your day. Or you stay. And become completely and utterly enamoured by the sheer awesomeness of Fables Den–

Khem.

I never liked the idea of branding. It seems so business-like. It’s almost like forcing my blog to put on a persona that is somewhat an authentic reflection of what it is but strategically packaged to attract certain audiences. When I worked on Fables Den’s tagline, I did consider who am I going to attract. Writers. Creatives. Tarot lovers with a more literary and nerdy persuasion. Spiritual wayfarers. I know exactly who I am writing for now, yay!

The truth is, I don’t really know if this is the right thing to do. From engaging in Fables Den’s various social media platforms, I am getting a sense of the type of people who are attracted to my content. Or do I? Maybe I am making assumptions again. Do I really need to figure out who Fables Den is so I can put a certain face on it, so its name has a certain ring?

It’s Den. Fables Den. A cozy nerdy space-time for spiritual nerds and creative souls. For people who are into spiritual wayfaring, productive living, creative storytelling and tarot learning. (Tagline spoiler. Or not, since it’s on the very top of this blog and sorta in your face the whole time.)

The truth is, Fables Den is so many things-it’s really hard to distill its many masses and organic growths and spirit patches into just one tagline. I feel like words can hardly encompass it. Although, Fables Den, as a space itself, does encompass many words. Words of all colours and shapes and textures.

The question is, do I really need to have everything figured out? Do I need to “settle” and stick with that branding forever? People change names to change their destiny and their outlook on life, or to reflect their sense of self-why do I feel the need to settle? Do I even neeeed a tagline?

The truth is, the thought of it stresses me out. When I look at Fables Den right after I switch to a new banner with a new photography, I usually like what I see. Then a few days later, I would start to feel like something is a bit off. It’s like my idea of it keeps on shapeshifting. Or it simply cannot be contained by one banner alone.

Maybe I should just rotate banners, then! I think WordPress has that function, no? You can have several banners and rotate it? Maybe, maybe that’s the solution. If I can’t settle for one of them, I’ll just use all of them! (What about YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook though? Guh!)

After I started to seriously (as in like, committing, not solemn) invest my time, energy, effort and love into Fables Den and its many platforms, I noticed that each and every platform shows a slightly different angle of its personality. This blog is where you’ll find the more literary and text heavy stuff (well duh, it’s a blog). I create content about productivity, spiritual insight, and learning/study resources for tarot. For Instagram, I mostly post original poetry, inspiring quotes, and tarot spreads. Tiny visual and creative delights with a thematic punch. And YouTube. Well, YouTube is where I ramble. Just kidding. I mostly do “presentation” stuff there, or deck reviews. Or “text-driven” vlogs which are essentially a product born out of the desire to express myself with language, coupled with my equally powerful desire to gesticulate.

But yeah, do I need to know what or who Fables Den is? I mean, Fables Den is who I am. Actually, speaking of that-it is also just another angle of my own face. A facet of my creative being. I have too many blogs to count and sometimes I feel like maybe I should just combine everything that I’ve ever written. Merge. Fusion-ha! the whole shebang and be done with it. But somehow, that doesn’t feel right either.

Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom is definitely its own thing. It would bite my fingers off if I tried to merge it with anything. I post my poetry there. I also post my poetry on Insta sometimes so I wonder what the difference is. I really don’t know!! Sometimes having multiple blogs is a little bit hard to man, especially when you want to centralize traffic, etc. There, another logistic concern regarding blogging. Bleh.

Having that said, it’s kind of working out though. Most of you who are aware of my blogging will have travelled through the wayward links and known about my other blogs. Probably. Hopefully.

Seriously though, I wonder how many of you have been following me, and for how long? Have I always been in a strand of your consciousness and you would occasionally think of me and come check out my pages? Or do I have hardcore level fans who check my pages every day just to find out what’s new? I really don’t know. What I do know is every time I receive a comment, a post like, a follow–it makes my heart leap. It makes me feel seen. And it makes me feel like I’m not just shouting into the void in this vast blog-verse.

Sometimes I would think to myself: who am I? I’m just an Asian girl who is self-conscious about looking like a high school student at the age of almost 26, and worrying about not being taken seriously because she’s, well, too “kawaii”. I don’t mean this in the way that I think of myself as someone who is adorably cute–I mean the “oh look she’s writing a blog! How cute!” kind of cute where you acknowledge my blogging effort but you move on to the next blog for more “adult” stuff.

Bleh! I think I’m just swimming in my own head and insecurities too much. But sometimes those insecurities are so real because I do get judged for those things. Looking too young. Not being taken seriously or being treated like a cute kid. Or, when I’m in my darker moods, being Asian. I don’t know if my fellow bloggers who are white ever face this fear. Sometimes I feel like people would be either dismissive or ultra-critical because I have a non-white background. And I’m blogging about the English language, literature and symbolism.

Insecurities are paralyzing, man. But I do my best. I try to love myself everyday. On the days that I don’t or when I love myself less, I hug myself and tell myself that it’s only a day or two. And those short days needn’t define me. And I keep calm and carry on.

To those of you who are following me, thank you. Really, from the bottom of my heart. I would say I have a relatively small (but growing!) following compared to the more “successful” bloggers (I need to stop the comparison game, guh!) I want to say that I am unworthy of your love, because I’m just a tiny spec in a grand blogniverse, but on the contrary, thank you for visiting and coming to my blog. On my darker days, you validate me. You strengthen my dwindling sense of worth. I want to say cheesy stuff like “you shouldn’t place your own worth on something so external.” Like I’ve gotten over it already, all wise and shiny. But when it comes to your creative work, it does get a bit personal, no? For the most part I’m okay and I am not going to feel like a complete failure if nobody follows my blog in a week. But on the days when follows and likes and comments do happen–man. I do light up! I light up because you show up in my world like a ray of warm dazzling sunlight.

So thank you. Really. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I love you so much. And I hope you continue to support and love Fables Den. 🙂

And I sweeeeear this was only meant to be a banner update and a brief blog post about creative identity. But oh well! My muse has led me thus far.

Until next post-you sexy bedazzles.
Kimberly

Say Hi to The Writing Cauldron

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say-hi-to-thewriting-cauldronSome of you might have noticed some luggage in the various corners of Fables Den. You might have even noticed that some additional furnitures have been added, the walls have been furnished, and the whole Den has basically been renewed and upgraded.The more I write for Fables Den, the more Fables Den finds and becomes itself. I’m sure you will understand what I mean if you are a blogger, or a writer, or somebody with a consistent creative practice. The more you express yourself, the more “you” you become. And more.

Anyway. I am here to tell you that I have merged my writing blog, The Writing Cauldron, with this one. (That blog still exists: you can find its carcass here if you’re curious.) You will be able to find most of the Cauldron posts under the Creative & Storytelling tab. Some posts have decided to settle with the Productivity tab, which resonates with their nature.

This is the reason why there’s a mysterious shake-up of this blog’s space-time. Wait? This post was published when? How come I never noticed? It’s no mystery. It’s the Cauldron. The Cauldron has finally decided to come home and make magic in Fables Den. Although it’s not called the “writing cauldron” anymore (which it bitterly complained about–as no creative entity seeks to lose its identity, let along its name) but its spirit and essence will forever be a prominent resident in the Den.

Despite its bitter complaints in the beginning, however, it’s found its twin flame (creativity) and I don’t think it really cares about the formalities anymore. The most important thing is that they exist together and be known together.

So yeah! Just thought I would give you guys an update. Fables Den will continue to wear its heart on its sleeve. More so than before, in fact. Like I said before–the more you express, the more you  become. And Fables Den has always been on a journey of becoming. It’s become more than it was ever meant to be: a humble tarot blog, occasional tarot poetry, and occasional spiritual musings. But now it’s so much more. Productivity, creativity, storytelling–these are the things that I care deeply about. Ingredients, I believe, for the recipe of a fulfilling life. I hope to attract people who share my passions in these wonderful topics.

When it comes to tarot and writing–I feel like these things are primary and secondary at the same time. Tarot and writing are the channels that I choose to express my creative and to facilitate my productive & creative practice. For you, it may be different. You don’t have to be a writer or tarot reader to appreciate the spirit of this blog. Its message is fluid. It’s specific yet universal.

But yes, at the same time, tarot and writing are my passions. We have an ongoing love-affair that is unlikely to end anytime soon.

And yes, please say hi to the Writing Cauldron, guys! Feel free to look around and explore/re-explore the Den.

Love,

Kimberly

Free Poetry E-zines from Somewhere Nowhere in My Kingdom

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Here’s two of my poetry e-zines from Somewhere Nowhere in My Kingdom, my strictly poetry blog.

snik-issue-one-cover

Somewhere Nowhere in My Kingdom Vol. 1:
“I dream, therefore I become.”

snik-issue-two-cover

Somewhere Nowhere in My Kingdom: Vol 2
“I may think love destroys me, but it is love that sets me free.”

I thought about merging that blog with this one, but it’s become its own creature and takes no heed from me. I think I will break its heart if I force it to come into the den. (My Writing Cauldron, however, is a different story. Being a cauldron of writing, it has no objections when it comes to being relocated. It is, after all, a cauldron subjected to my personal whims, mwahahahahah.)

Anyway. Somewhere Nowhere in My Kingdom. When I first started that blog, there wasn’t any intention behind it. It was me and my words. Over the years I updated when I was struck by inspiration. I wrote when I had a story to tell, a rant to release, an image to solidify, a fervent wishing to make real.  Slowly but surely, I found people who appreciated my words, who showed up from time to time to express their interest. Or should I say, really, that they found me?
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Sometimes I would see a posted comment two years after its genesis. That poor thing! I never meant to ignore it. My poetry blog was just somewhere I passed by. A place where I frequented, a space I inhabited but never stayed. It was a secret bench next to the pine trees in the park. It was a solitary rock surrounded by flowers, tucked away by branches and mesmerizing shades.
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Anyway. I thought I would share some of my (more) poems with you. I have some poems on this site, and it is likely that there will be more. As more of my creative passions and outlets intersect, you’ll be seeing more of me.

Here they are. And I apologize the pictures are kind of pixelated.

I actually created these 2 e-zines (along with editing, photography, designing etc) using Joomag’s online editor. I don’t think it is meant to accommodate the whole creative process, but oh well! I didn’t know better than. I did my best extrapolating a cover photo using the primitive technology print screen. The actual e-zines are HD, I promise.

While you’re at it, check out my Fool’s Journey e-book, too!!! I’ll give you a cookie. A digital one, that is. From Google search. I’m afraid you’ll have to collect it on your own–but the cookies are there, I promise! 🙂

Anyways!! If you are still reading this long-winded introduction to the following 2 links, click the links already!!

The Next Chapter: Hello, hello 2017!

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hello-2017

Hello, hello 2017! A bit late in the game since 2017 has already begun–I meant to begin this Next Chapter series two weeks ago, but the last few months of 2016 have been radically stormy and challenging for me, and it’s been a hell of a ride. Having that said, I intend to channel the optimism and courage I have garnered from my experiences and pour all that goodness into the upcoming blog posts.

As you have probably guessed, I love using “story” and “storytelling” as a motif for living life. I am going to do something slightly different this year, however. For the most part, you are still going to be bombarded by a series of metaphors, since they are a cup of tea that I don’t get tired of sipping from (chuckle). For 2017, I am going to introduce the concept of threshold mapping.

Well, what the heck is it? It’s really just a fancy figurative term that I use to encapsulate the process of preparing for a transitional time in life. A new year, the resetting of the calendar is a threshold. A career change is a threshold. The breakup of a relationship is a threshold. Entering motherhood is a threshold. Anything that signifies “change” is a threshold.

Threshold mapping for 2016-2017 is essentially the process of reflecting and digesting your experiences in 2016, recognizing and validating where you are now and how far you have come, and then getting ready for the next chapter, or the next adventure of your life (that will take place in 2017). It taps into concepts of gamification and encourages the creative imagining or reimagining of one’s life in order to make life more fun, more exciting, more productive and more fulfilling. Of course, it also actively incorporates the language of mapping, journeying and questing as central metaphors to spice things up. Hence, threshold mapping.

Let me just say how excited I am for The Next Chapter: Hello, hello 2017! series. Personally, I love experimenting with and researching into productivity systems as well as ways towards self-betterment and fulfillment. I look forward to sharing some of the insights that I have gained with you. Hopefully, the following blog posts will inspire you to experiment with your own productivity and wellness systems and help you “level up” your life. 🙂 To me, nothing is more exciting than getting that delicious upgrade!

Let’s tread together into this brand new year that has yet to unfold!

Upcoming blog posts in this series:

My Tarot Origin Story

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A while ago, I updated my About page. Fables Den has undergone many changes, and I wanted to capture how its spirit has evolved–how I have evolved. I realized I needed to tell my story, because I have never done it before. Trying to encapsulate who I am and where I am now seems to call for a return to the beginning.

So here is my origin story. It’s a bit lengthy, and given how modern people have the attention span of a fish (that’s me included, so don’t get mad), I hope you will read until the very end.

Here it is. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

I picked up a tarot deck, and the story began from there.

Sort of. Kind of. It did and it didn’t.

My fascination with tarot cards stemmed from my anime-obsessed childhood. In love with the idea of magical girls wielding magical cards to defeat evil monsters, store energy and foretell the future, I was inevitably attracted to the idea of a deck of cards (in real life!) that could potentially do all of those things.

(Despite my girly obsessions, however, I feel compelled to mention that I was also in love with Dragon Ball Z and other boyish fighterish shenanigans. I was on both sides of the gender spectrum, as far as cartoons went)

My first deck wasn’t a complete deck. The Power Tarot, a book authored by a Taiwanese occultist called Morris, only came with the 22 major arcana cards. The book was given to me by my good friend’s mother as a present. Interestingly, she thought I would enjoy something like this, since she was into astrology herself. It was kind of random: I was into astrology in the sense that I liked to read horoscopes for weekly predictions and personality profiles. I wasn’t particularly close to my friend’s mom, and I wasn’t so spiritually inclined at the time to attract a deck of cards into my life.

But you never know, right? Apparently, there are no such things as coincidences.

I was twelve or thirteen years old at the time, and I didn’t take the subject seriously. I was just a goofy nerdy girl, and most definitely not an old soul or intuitively gifted. It was a fun experience, and I mostly picked up the cards and enjoyed finding out which archetype my birthday corresponded with. I also enjoyed entertaining myself with the cheeky romantic predictions under the Love section. Those predictions were very canned and a few sentences in length, barely scratching at the surface of tarot and what a deck of cards can offer.

I didn’t even know there were actually 78 cards. I didn’t even know the minor arcana existed. How ignorant of me! But heck, it was still pretty cool.

Come to think of it, I really should have been visited by my spirit guides at that point. Should have received some kind of cosmic revelation that unraveled my destiny as tarot reader and lightworker. A mentour should have been introduced to me through sheer synchronicity alone. The grand spark. The magical jumpstart. You know, something. Anything.

Contrary to my narrative impulses: throughout the next two years or so, my tarot timeline was quite uneventful. Other than the occasional shuffles to divine the true feelings of my crush at the time, the deck of cards mostly sat on my bookshelf next to my Harry Potter books. Until the same person (my good friend’s mom, Sunnie) gave me another deck of tarot cards. Again, she thought I would be into this sort of thing.

I wasn’t too hyped because I didn’t find the artwork attractive, but I was excited nevertheless to receive a full deck of cards.

Could this be the hidden sign that I was looking for? Could this be yet another invitation to listen to my intuition? To answer Spirit’s calling? Could this be my second chance to begin my grand narrative of tarot?

Coincidence?

Yeah, probably. My friend’s mom always gave away (and still does) random things that she purchased but never made great use of. It was a random gesture and a perfect example of her practical gifting.

But you were expecting a different answer, no?

Coincidence? I think not. I bet you were just thinking it. Sorry to disappoint you with this boring turn of events. But here’s something that might cheer you up: around that time, I was prepared to take tarot more seriously.

I wanted to look into it more and study the craft. 78 cards! Not just 22 cards–78! I pictured the deck weighing down on my hand and filling in my palm as I shuffled, and I thought it would be wonderful if I could get to know the individual cards and have that knowledge at my disposal. I would be a tarot reader. A carrier of esoteric knowledge. A channel of the divine. A knower of things.

A magical girl with magical powers.

Okay, I lied. To tell you the truth, I had none of those sentiments. Mostly I just thought tarot was kind of cool. And I liked stationary. Tarot cards are by extension a kind of stationary since it’s made of paper.

So I unboxed the tarot deck and looked through the cards. I for the life of me cannot remember which deck it was, but it might have been the Marseilles Tarot since I vaguely remember that the minor arcana consisted of only pip cards and no actual depictions of their themes.

As I looked through the cards, the artwork didn’t inspire me, but I liked the weight of the deck on my hands. There was something very comforting about it, so despite the dull images (sorry, Marseilles peeps!) I was getting more excited with each card.

It was then I discovered that it wasn’t a complete deck. Again. There was a duplicate. Instead of 78 cards, I had 76 cards + 2 of the same card.

WHAT WHY WHUUUUUH!!! @#$&*#@)$&@#)*$&@#)*$&)#@*$&)#@!!!!

I was a compulsive perfectionist, especially when it comes to paper stuff, so that was a huge blow. I remember being so utterly disappointed and angry that I pestered my mother for her credit card so I could purchase a new deck for myself. A new complete deck, dammit. So that was what I did.

You would think my tarot story would finally pick up from here. I would have a beautiful a-ha moment and I would have bonded with the new deck so much that my real tarot story would at last begin. It would be a singular moment that I could not forget. A one of a kind moment in which realities intersected and my Spirit stood at the centre of those intersections and found its core. Those energies and galactic butterflies would have settled in the depths of my heart and reside in the folds of my soul and I would be—

Okay, okay. You get the point.

Without going further with my poetic and spiritual outburst, I can tell you right now that it was most definitely one of the most unforgettable moments of my life. Because on the very night the tarot deck arrived, I placed it next to my pillow (as I did for anything precious and new) and fell asleep next to it.

And I had a nightmare. And another. And another.

That whole night I was running around in circles, chased by invisible monsters, stressed out and frightened by things and images that I no longer recall now. But I remember being scared. And stressed out.

And when I woke up, my first thought was: this tarot deck is evil.

Shakily, I told my dad about the nightmares. My dad was much more energy sensitive than I was, so I trusted him to give me sound advice on any energetic or spiritual matter. A regular meditator, mudra worker, and divine channeler–my dad was the rock star when it came to anything spiritual.

I’m not trying to gloat here, but he’s really awesome. I grew up wanting to be exactly like him.

So I showed him the deck and waited for him to impart wisdom upon me: his daughter, his pupil, his divine disciple. I watched him sort through the cards, scanning each one with his hand and feeling the energetic frequency that each card emitted. My dad paused at the Justice card. Right away, he told me, “Bad vibes.”

He returned the deck to me and asked me what I was going to do with it. I said I wanted nothing to do with it. So I threw it into the trash.

I know, I know. A tarot deck? The trash?

To be fair, I was truly, really, inexorably frightened at the idea of this deck being in my room—in my house. I just couldn’t take it, and I obviously didn’t want to give it to somebody when it was emitting bad, evil vibes!

Now, as an adult, I wonder why that particular tarot deck gave me the shivers.

For the most part, it wasn’t like the images and art styles were demonic, disturbing, bloody or anything in between. They were just very avant-garde, dark and abstract, but I suppose as a kid I overestimated myself and came to find those images disturbing. I mean, I did pick it. I saw the previews and sample images from the tarot webpage, so it wasn’t like I didn’t know what I was buying.

Or maybe those images stirred up the shadow in me, so much that it bled into my dreams and scared me. Maybe I wasn’t ready for the transformative powers of tarot. Maybe I was too young and unstable to work with my ego. (Which made sense, since I just immigrated to Canada at that time, and needing to learn and relearn about my identity on top of trying to survive school with reduced communicative abilities—well, it was very tough on me because I had always been, and still am, a writer and a storyteller. Not being able to communicate with words was painful.) Maybe those nightmares were just a reflection of my hidden anxiety and stress from my immigration experience.

Or, maybe it wasn’t the deck imagery that invited unwanted energy or presence–maybe it was that particular deck. Maybe it picked up the “bad vibes” that my dad was talking about from the people who were selling it. Who knows what hands it’d passed through before it arrived at my house.

Also, it was the Archeon Tarot, in case you were wondering. I looked up the images just now as I am writing this, and they no longer scare me. It’s not a deck that I would personally work with or collect, but the pictures aren’t that creepy. So what was it, then? Where did those nightmares come from? Where did those bad vibes come from?

I suppose I will never know. But I think I did the right thing. Maybe I wasn’t ready to receive a deck of tarot cards. Maybe I needed to be surer of myself. Or maybe my spirit guides were trying to protect me from that negatively charged deck. Whatever it was, it stopped me from delving into the world of tarot.The experience scarred me so much that I refrained from anything “tarot” altogether for the next few years. I went back to my occasional “tell me about my love life!” mode in which I only asked my 22 major arcana deck about my crushes in high school from time to time.

I was an extremely awkward person in high school, and tarot seemed to be a good distraction when I was drowning in my own thoughts, too busy internalizing and too afraid to make a move. I was shy, so shy that I could not even muster enough courage to say or wave “hi” to people. Being an English learner wasn’t helping, either. I felt“less” because I wasn’t in a regular English class. I felt less because I could no longer tell stories and weave poetry with my words. I could no longer express myself as I was used to when Mandarin was the “common tongue”. I felt less because I used to feel proud of myself for always brimming with words. Words used to be magic. They were my special powers as a magical girl and I used to have lots and lots of them. But now, in Canada where the official language is English, words reflected my despair because instead of having an abundance of them, I didn’t have enough of them.

In short, it really sucked to be an ESL student. I was so pained by my loneliness and silence that I made up a story about myself being the “ghost”. I walked alone and lived alone. I was too cool for my generation and the other “kids” in high school. So it made perfect sense that I was alone. I was supposed to be alone.

But deep down inside, I know that I yearned for social connections and company. I yearned to hear my own voice again.

When I graduated high school, it got simultaneously better and worse. Better, because when I was living in dorm at my university, I was surrounded by lively and interesting people who were super friendly and encouraging. Worse, because university campus was a bigger and more complex social ecosystem and I could not fathom where did all these perfect people come from—eloquent, smart, intelligent, well-dressed, mature-looking, eloquent, verbal, social, expressive, ELOQUENT.

Everything I wasn’t. Everything I yearned to be. I was feeling like a miserable ESL student again. I couldn’t bear looking at myself. The only time I felt safe and comfortable was when I was surrounded by the walls of my dorm room. Because nobody could see me there. I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I didn’t have to live with the words I wanted to say but never said. I didn’t have to live with my parched throat, my constricted airway, my stunted vocabulary. I didn’t have to face how inadequate I felt, how judged, and how agonizing it was to not be able to find my words and use my voice.

On top of that, I was self-conscious about not being skinny enough. Or not having my bangs fall perfectly on my face. Or not wearing the right brand of boots. Or not looking feminine and gorgeous with lush makeup. Or not being cool and edgy enough to wear my own “brand” and express my personality. Or caring too much about the way I dressed and talked and behaved. The list went on and on and on. Every day, there was a new way to berate myself.

I didn’t believe that the world could receive me and treat me nicely. I didn’t believe that people would just talk to me and not judge me for who I was or was not. I didn’t believe that people didn’t have their agendas, or a negative perception of me. Always, always, they were judging me.

They see me. They see me for who I am. They think I’m worthless.

What an exhausting way to live, right? That was the story I lived in for an entire decade–ever since I immigrated to Canada. My first two years of university were no different, but I really didn’t have any reason to live like that. Everybody was nice to me, in fact. Everybody. I mean, there were personalities that I didn’t agree with, worldviews I didn’t jam with, but they were all nice people. They weren’t mean to me or rude to me. Nothing happened in those two years that validated my innermost fear—that people didn’t want to be around me and they judged me. None of that happened, but still, I was afraid. And stressed. All the time.

One day, my English 220 class ended (it was classical Canadian literature. Beavers and pioneers and the wonders of nature! It’s as boring as you think it is. Sorry Canada!), and I packed up my things and headed back to dorm. It was a 15-minute walk from the northern side of the campus to where I lived. It was one of the most hellish and grueling 15 minutes of my life because for no reason, I was so, so, so tired. And I couldn’t understand why. When I returned to my dorm room, I collapsed on top of my bed. It was an hour class. To be precise, it was a 50-minute class with 10-minute transition time so students could get to their next class. It was the only class I had that day and I had a full luscious 10 hour sleep the night before. I couldn’t explain why I was so spent just from an hour of class and 15 minutes of walking. I thought maybe I just needed more sleep, so that was what I did. I curled up into my bed with my hippo huggie-plushie (which everybody needs to have) and slept.

How is it relevant to my tarot origin story? You may be wondering.

Usually, there is a huge turning point in the story of every lightworker, tarot reader, spiritual teacher, and other big-hearted angels out there who are spreading messages of love and peace and grace. Usually it’s kind of tragic and dramatic. You know, the shit-hits-the-fan kind of tragic and dramatic. Like, somebody dies, somebody loses a job or gets fired, somebody loses a house, somebody betrays their partner, or uh, somebody dies. You know what I’m talking about. It’s when everything goes south and everything turns bitter. And from this shitty hell-hole: Wisdom. Truth. Empowerment.

Well, we are reaching for the turning point and the beginning of my transformation in my story. And I am promising you a story unlike any other.

So be prepared.

Because none of those things happened to me.

Say what?

None of those things happened to me. 

Nobody died (thank God). I didn’t lose my job because I was, for the most part, a student. On that note, I didn’t get “fired” from being a student because I was a nerd and my marks were pretty good. I didn’t lose a house. I wasn’t betrayed by my romantic partner because I was single. I wasn’t betrayed by my friends because they were all very nice people. And again, nobody died.

Har har har. Is this some kind of a joke?

Nope. I’m perfectly serious.

In fact, what happened was:

What the fuck?

I thought to myself.

Followed by: Why am I so tired…for absolutely no reason!?

And then: I don’t want to be tired anymore! This makes no sense!

And that was how everything started. Kind of, sort of.

Kind of anticlimactic–as far as life-changing questions go, right?

No tragedy, no drama, no despair. Just a simple, exasperated question about why I was so sleepy all the time.

And a newfound determination that rose out of that question: I don’t want to live like this anymore.

And then:

I want my life to be better.

Before I knew it, I was consulting the greatest oracle that ever existed: Google.

O Almighty Lord Google, why am I so tired all the time?

Stress (among other things).

Stress. Eyes. People staring. People judging. The way I dressed. The way I looked. The way I wasn’t skinny-socially-acceptible-media-standards-of-beauty-perfect. The way words were stuck in my throat. The way those words came back to haunt me and hurt me for not giving birth to them. The way I was living an inauthentic life trapped in my insecurities and fears in which my voice, wrapped in a perfect cocoon, couldn’t burst free and take flight.

In a few minutes, I self-diagnosed that I was, indeed, suffering from social anxiety and self-esteem issues. Internet is your best doctor, right? And as part of my treatment, I bought a book on social anxiety and self-esteem issues and started giving myself cognitive therapy. I started self-reflecting, addressing the vicious cycles inside my mind, unraveling my fears and my insecurities. I worked with myself and slowly encouraged myself to be less self-critical. I tried to think positively when I was in social situations. I tried not to project my own fear of judgement onto the people I was interacting with.  I also found a forum where people were super supportive of each other about social anxiety and self-esteem issues! Awesome. Hooray. Positivity galore.

That was when tarot found its way back to me.

If you are still reading. You may (still) be expecting to hear a series of miraculous events of synchronicity: bitch-slapped by the universe, wondrous encounters of beautiful strangers, unintentional gifting, etc.

And I wish, I wish I could give you the exact details of how I really, really picked up my first tarot deck, and how positive and cathartic and awakened I felt when I did—but I honestly cannot remember. I only remember that I did some research and it felt like the natural next step for my self-development and spiritual narrative. In a way, tarot had always been there, but I didn’t have a real need of it until much later.

You may decide that my tarot origin story is quite an unremarkable one.

But I love it, despite what you think. I love it because it is mine.

How it started–how it really started, was that one day (after my self-induced epiphany), I decided to research into tarot and I stumbled across Kelly-Ann Maddox’s Trainee Tarot Course on Youtube.

And I fell.

I fell into the poetry that is tarot
I fell into the symbolic layers, the similes
and the metaphors, the cosmic language
that captures the facets of one’s soul
of one’s experience
of being human

All of a sudden: words. Words, words, and words. Words without shapes and form, Words that were new but old, Words that I uttered for the very first time but already knew by heart. Words. 

I was ready to face myself. I was ready to see myself for who I was. I was ready to speak, to find my voice again.I was ready to love myself more. And more. And more.

I was ready. To take a swim in my soul. To make the incredible of self-awareness and self-love.

Why am I so tired!?

I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a cry from my spirit telling me to stop living a depleted existence where I felt small, unnoticed, unappreciated, unconfident, and unworthy. There was no reason to live like that. Nobody should live like that. Nobody deserved that kind of existence.

Okay, well.

It was more like:

I saw Kelly-Ann’s video, and I thought: OMG. I like this a lot. Tarot cards can be a spiritual and psychological thing?! IT’S LIKE A MIRROR OF MY MIND AND SOUL.  LIKE IT KNOWS SHIT ABOUT ME AND GIVES ME ADVICE AND STUFF!!!

And really, I just went: This is so cooooooool.Tooooo coooooooooooool. Oh em gee x infinity.

And maybe that was all my Spirit needed to hear.