3 things other bloggers don’t want you to know (and other thoughts on being a real person)

Queen of Swords Golden Universal

Confession: it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve written a “real” post. Yes, I’ve spent a good chunk of that time soaking up the last days of my apprenticeship with Hilary and working on a few exciting new projects, but there’s also a nagging feeling that’s been keeping me away.

In truth, I’ve spent a lot of that time mulling over the blogging industry, the metaphysical community, and where I fit into them. I’m tired of the perfectly polished photos and cliche advice that dominate so much of the conversation, and I’m craving vulnerability. So, I’ll start.

These are the secrets other bloggers don’t want you to know. Listen closely.

Those styled pictures look nothing like their real life.

Elegance is like pornography: “I know it when I see it.” I have a deep and abiding obsession with good design, but creating it doesn’t come easily. Still, when Jacquelyn Tierney started her #MAGICMAKERMAY Instagram challenge I thought I’d try my hand at replicating some of the gorgeous shots I’d seen on my feed. Within a few days, it was abundantly clear that was easier said than done. One photo might take a half and hour, setting up the white foamboard amid my messy living room and styling the items I’d collected from throughout the house.

I love my home, but it’s far from perfectly curated. One day, when I saw a sparkling beam of sunlight streaming in through the kitchen window, I felt disappointed. How could I capture and share that light when there was a stack of dirty dishes in the sink? By the time I washed them, the sun would have moved on.

What did I do? I took the picture anyways. Here’s the caption:

“In reality, our kitchens don’t look like an Anthropologie catalog. There are dishes to be done and messes to be cleaned. There are also a million lovely things those pictures miss, like the piece of Spanish moss from my beloved Charleston that sits on the windowsill, the bottle of Dom a dear friend gave us as a wedding gift, or the antique vase I got on a trip to visit my grandmother who’s long since passed away…It’s not always pretty, but it is beautiful.”

They have a day job (or a rich partner).

Let me preface this by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having someone else support you, financially or otherwise, in your creative endeavors; however, there’s something disconcerting about receiving income from other sources and presenting yourself a self-made business guru. If scientists and other professionals are expected to declare their conflicts of interest, shouldn’t we be held to the same standard of excellence?

There’s a pervasive myth that if you “quit your day job”, the powers that be will come to your aid and allow you to manifest the money you need to survive. While I’ve seen magic happen (and it does happen), it’s not that simple. I’ve seen just as many people make stupid decisions based on this advice, and I worry that this lack of transparency is what’s caused the myth to become so rampant. It’s alluring, certainly more so than the idea that you’ll have to work your ass off and save your pennies for years before you make the leap.

When you’re transparent about what part your online business plays in your life, you build trust within the community and allow people to appreciate your accomplishments for what they are. Theresa Reed does an amazing job at this. So does Esmé Wang. There are plenty of people out there who walk their talk, but on the whole, we could be doing much better.

They have no idea what they’re doing.

Here’s the thing: none of us do. The fact that anyone can do this is at once the industry’s greatest strength and most complicated weakness. Blogging and e-commerce are incredibly fast-paced industries that are evolving and changing faster than other bloggers and business owners can write list posts on how to keep up, and as a result, it takes an incredible amount of discernment to sort through the bullshit. Luckily, it’s also easier than ever for experts to share their gifts of knowledge with the world (and get paid for it).

So, what’s a mystic to do? Take everything with a grain of salt. Build your online relationships slowly and carefully. Finally (and perhaps most importantly), listen to your intuition. You already know the answers.


 

Phew. It feels good to get that off my chest. Even with all that said, I still love this shit. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have written two books, connected with a vibrant community, and met some of the most incredible teachers and soul sisters here (and in person). To say it’s been worth it is a wild understatement, which is why I’m going even deeper with The Midheaven in the last half of 2015.

Here’s what I’m going to be up to:

I wanted to wait to tell you, but I don’t think I can stand it anymore! I’m working with my soul twin, Jacquelyn Tierney, to give The Midheaven a complete visual makeover. She’s the Chanel of web design, and I can’t wait.

I’m pairing up with another magic maker to bring you something amazing in star-studded style (hint!). It’s been in the works for a few months now, and it just keeps getting better and better.

I have a super secret new astrology offering in beta right now that I can’t wait to reveal later this year. I’ts going to be magical (hint hint!). Mark your calendars for November.

Finally, the lineup for the rest of this year’s Cosmic Chat interviews is going to blow your mind. I’m totally humbled by everyone’s generosity and you’re going to fall in love with their stories.

This summer is going to be HOT!

Until then, I’ll leave you with this prayer from Briana Saussy:

“May you have a heart that knows the right way to go with wisdom and discernment.”

The Love List: 5.18.2015

Personal Power Mala

Hello beautiful people! I’ve missed you. I took a much needed break from the blog last month to turn #STARSANDCARDS into a free e-book (when you sign up for the monthly forecast!) and recalibrate before a few very exciting launches in June. You’re going to love them, I promise.

In the meantime, this exquisite handmade mala from Jen Cintrón has kept me energized. It’s full of good vibes from the Scorpio full moon, and it smells amazing from all the anointing oils. I’m already plotting my second one!

how to get over “vacation guilt” and actually enjoy your time off

4 ways to focus when your mind’s not in the mood

what to read when…

Mercury Retrograde is not the everything

surprise: you get six months of magic every full moon

10 things internet marketers don’t want you to know

how to say no

Claire Underwood is my spirit animal.

how to simplify your beauty routine step by step

should you work from home? pros & cons (and a reality check)

are you born psychic or is it something you can learn?

the surprising past careers of 13 famous musicians

inside Led Zeppelin’s private jet

Vodou is like a gun

don’t sweat it (southern belles, rejoice!)

is magic really “magic” or is is psychological?

how much to tip your tattoo artist (and everyone else who helps you out)

Prisma Visions tarot: a deck review

“yes, many times”

my current favorite podcast: Sex Nerd Sandra (NSFW, obviously)

Magical Miscellany: 4.20.2015

Tarot Apprentice

There’s just a little over a month left of my Tarot Apprentice mentorship with Hilary Parry. Where did the time go? It’s been an incredible experience, and you can bet I’ll be putting my head down over the next few weeks to make the most of our remaining time together.

Do you have a soulful biz dream? These three questions will help you get clear and go pro.

Need inspiration? Stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius is always relevant.

Susannah Conway shares the lessons she learned from nine years of blogging. Spoiler alert: they’re excellent.

What will I be missing if I choose to stay?

You survived tax season! Now, what financial records do you need to keep?

What is your blog’s “bounce rate“, and why does it matter? Sarah Morgan gives you the lowdown.

Here’s how to make the most of that book or course and actually apply it to your life.

I really admire this post from Grace Bonney at Design*Sponge on what scares her. Vulnerability is sexy. (Also, if you haven’t downloaded her podcast After the Jump, make it happen! It’s supremely useful and insightful, especially for creative professionals.)

Blogging is a genre, and don’t you forget it.

I firmly believe that everyone should work in the service industry at least once in their life. Apparently, the writers over at The Kitchn do too!

When you avoid giving negative feedback, you may be hurting more than you’re helping.

People don’t buy because what you do is awesome. People buy because it makes them feel awesome.

I love Tabby Beasly’s post on Little Red Tarot about grouping the astrological houses in your birth chart.

Curious how tarot pro Theresa Reed does it all? She shared her daily routine from wake-up time to wine-o-clock.

This post on the trickster archetype and why it’s important to have a sense of humor about spirituality is hilarious. Enjoy.

Magical Miscellany: 4.06.2015

lunar eclipse

Impromptu tarot ritual for yesterday’s lunar eclipse. Pure magic.

Instead of looking for the right person, become the right person.

I love this visual interview with Arianna Huffington over at The Coveteur! If you’re looking for boss lady inspiration, look no further. While you’re add it, brush up on how to feel more confident in sixty seconds.

Alexis from Worts & Cunning is doing a series on astro-herbology. Check out the introduction (it’s refreshingly in-depth!) and follow along with what’s sure to be a brilliant feature.

I’ve never read tea leaves, but this piece on tasseomancy by Sarah Anne Lawless is really lovely. Maybe I’ll give it a try.

Go to Japan and take off your clothes. (It’s not what you think!)

I’ve noticed horses showing up in my life lately, in dreams, imagery, and other omens. Imagine my surprise when I saw this post on horse medicine by Sas Petherick!

Peggy Olson is the most accurate depiction of women in the workplace TV has ever seen. (Spoiler alert! Also, if you haven’t watched Mad Men yet, then where have you been? Stop reading this and get some Don Draper in your life.)

This censorship app, called Clean Reader, is really scary. Can’t we just appreciate art for what it is?

Shauna Haider’s aura photographs are beautiful. I wonder what color my aura is.

I need a copy of the Starchild Tarot deck, stat! Read an interview with the creator of the deck, Danielle Noel, by Ashes and Wine Tarot.

Ask Me Anything: Elemental Astrology Edition!

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Can you believe it? Elemental Astrology has been around for 2 weeks! You all have blown me away with all the pictures of the course in action. Seriously, it’s sheer delight to see the work in practice, which was my dream for this thing from the beginning. To everyone who’s taken the time to send me your photos and emails and messages about how much you’re loving it: THANK YOU.

A few days before the course launched, I asked my wonderful e-letter subscribers to ask me absolutely anything about Elemental Astrology or my personal astrology practice. (Not on the list? Sign up here!) I’ve rounded them up, and answered them below. Happy reading!

I feel the need to celebrate the coming eclipse but I don’t know why. Could you suggest something (altar, prayer, whatever)?

You’re not alone. Lots of people celebrate the moon’s monthly cycle (including me!), and eclipses are like supercharged new and full moons. The average moon cycle can be intense, so it’s no wonder you’re picking up on Lady Luna’s amplified vibrations!

New moons correspond to new beginnings and growth, and full moons align with completions and illumination. With the full moon eclipse coming up, think about what part of your life you want to bring out of the shadows and into the light. You may want to light a candle to represent that desire. Or, try going outside under the full moon’s light and simply breathing. Ultimately, the way you celebrate eclipses is up to you. The moon rules your instincts, so during eclipses, expect them to be in high alert. Ask yourself, “How does this eclipse feel in my body?” Do you feel it in your heart, your head, or somewhere else completely? Focus on that feeling, and go from there.

If you want to learn more about eclipses, there’s a full chapter on the moon in Elemental Astrology. Sneak peek: I talk about keeping a moon journal and developing your own lunar practice!

I have natal Sun conjunct Saturn in Aquarius in 10th – does this mean self-expression will always be crushed?

Oh dear! First of all, the answer is NO. Every planet, sign, and house has a higher and lower expression. The stars can act as allies, challengers, or sometimes both at once. Some astrologers are very negative in their interpretations of traditionally “challenging” planets like Saturn, but if you ask me, they’re only giving you half the picture. Saturn rules the tenth house and is also associated with professional accomplishment, so this is an amazing setup to have in your career house!

Having Saturn on your Sun may make you a conscientious or a bit Type-A, but that’s only because you’ve got the potential to be a seriously high achiever, and deep down, you know it. The best way to work this is to approach everything like a boss. Be devoted to your work. Don’t be afraid to go after ambitious goals. You’ve got the makings of a mogul here, sister.

One of my main goals with Elemental Astrology is to teach you all aspects of the stars so that you can be empowered by them instead of stressed out. It doesn’t mean you’ll be able to avoid tough alignments all together, but you’ll be able to recognize them and prepare well in advance.

I already know astrology pretty well. Will Elemental Astrology teach me anything new?

Absolutely! Elemental Astrology is a guide to my personal astrology practice, so you’ll get imagery, exercises, and prompts that you won’t see anywhere else.

The purpose of this course is to facilitate true intimacy with the stars. To quote exactly:

If you’re looking for a list of personality traits for your sun sign, you won’t find that here. Try a Google search instead. The same goes for your moon sign, rising sign, and so on. This is not a reference book. It’s a space in which you can discover the meaning of the stars for yourself.

To sum it up? It’s intuitive, sacred, and all about practice.

How do you know the difference between big shake up in the world or culture or politics, and one individual’s personal breakdown/breakthrough? Is there a place in the natal chart to look for such things, or a specific planet to focus on to gauge it? (For example: during the time of the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, etc., Uranus was Square Pluto…)

This question is from Hilary Parry, my tarot mentor. True to form, she started work on the course the day it came out!

I’ll admit, after launch day I completely burned out and hibernated for an entire weekend. After a few days, she replied with this message:

I THINK I may have answered my own question about telling the difference between personal and worldly astrology: is it because of the difference between the Personal Planets and the Outer Planets? For example, my example of Uranus Square Pluto (both outer planets interacting with each other)?

Yes, yes, yes! Gold stars for Hilary, y’all.

So, you see? This course really does teach you how to read the stars for yourself! Mission accomplished.

In honor of the Libra full moon, you can use the code eclipse to get 20% off your purchase of Elemental Astrology. The code expires at midnight on Monday, April 6, so get it while it’s hot!

Magical Miscellany: 3.30.2015

spring

Genius from Mystic Medusa: when good transits feel bad.

True, deep, intense friendship looks like this.

Here’s how to get out of bed in sixty seconds. I’m taking notes!

Does your blog need some love? Spring clean your site with this free worksheet from Sarah Morgan of XO Sarah.

Did you know Russell Brand is the world’s fourth most influential thinker? After watching his fascinating stand-up special, Messiah Complex, I’m not surprised!

My bathroom is tiny. Good to know I only really need these nine things!

Leave it to Theresa Reed to come up with something completely unique and daring! She’s partnered with a local food writer for a delicious new feature, Tarot by the Mouthful. Read the first installment here. (Spoiler alert: her soufflé game is on point!)

Be done with what’s done. Let it burn.

What will it take for you to make six or seven figures?

What do you allow into your inner circle?

I treated myself to two new tarot decks this week, and both of them are gold! I’m loving the Golden Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo and The Golden Tarot by Kat Black. Look for deck reviews on the blog soon.

Sincerity Sunday: On Rightful Names & Right Work

rightful names

When people ask you about your spiritual practices, how do you respond? More importantly, how does it make you feel?

In my hometown, beautiful though it may be, people aren’t always open to the sacred arts. Yes, I felt safe being an astrologer or tarot reader, but I was something deeper still, and I didn’t know how to express that in the larger context of my spiritual belief system. Until recently, when people asked me about spirituality I’d flinch, wondering how to reply with integrity without making anyone uncomfortable or causing a scene.

This year, I’d had the pleasure of participating in Briana Saussy’s Miracle Tree Sessions, a year-and-a-day intensive program for anyone “who desires a deeper relationship with their spiritual allies, the living land, the world between worlds, and the Divine within and without.” The course has been a catalyst for many discussions of magical lineage and the importance of names. She reminded us that coming into alignment with your spiritual work, whatever that might be, is your sacred right.

Under the Virgo full moon, I decided to sort out what to call myself once and for all. No more flinching, and no more fear.

I know I’m not alone in this experience, especially not within the metaphysical community. So, I’ve decided to share my ritual with you.

This is the exercise I used to claim my rightful names and right spiritual work. I hope it helps you find a name that feels like home.

First, grab your favorite divination deck and a notebook. I recommend using a traditional tarot deck for this exercise.

Next, you’ll want to write a list of all your possible rightful names. Be sure to include any religious or spiritual traditions you were raised with and from your specific ancestry, in addition to any metaphysical practices you feel pulled towards. You may also want to include any work that feels like it’s a part of your life’s calling. For example, my list included Catholic, mystic, and writer.

Know that your list will be completely unique to you. Only you have your special blend of family heritage, past experiences, and intuitive leanings. Be open to names that might feel strange to you at first. You may be surprised what you find.

If you’re still unsure where to begin, feel free to try a few of the names from my personal list:

astrologer
artist
Catholic
ceremonial magician
devotee
dreamer
ecstatic
herbalist
intuitive
lover of mystery
lover of wisdom
magic maker
magical practitioner
medium
musician
mystic
oracle
pagan
philosopher
priestess
psychic
psychopomp
seeker
shaman
speaker
spirit worker
spiritual practitioner
ritualist
root worker
tantrika
tarot reader
teacher
witch
writer
yogi

There’s no limit on how many names you can ask about. My list had 35 names! Just make sure you’re able to stay focused for the entire exercise.

At this point, you may want to light a candle or some incense. Make this experience as sacred or as simple as you want. Again, it’s all about what feels right to you.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

Now, ask this question: “What are my rightful names?”

Or, you might ask: “What is my right spiritual work?”

One by one, pull a card for each name on your list. Make sure you record the card for each name as you go, especially if your list is long. Also pay attention to how each card makes you feel, because that will make a difference in how your interpret it.

Here’s how I interpreted the results.

Major Arcana cards are a “hell yes”. The only ones where this doesn’t apply are The Tower and The Devil. My reading of these cards was that there’s power in that area, but it may be dangerous, or it may not be something you want to pursue.

Aces are also a definite “yes”.

Court cards may represent roles you play at different times in your life.

Minor Arcana cards depend on the individual card meaning.

I shared this ritual with my magical partner-in-crime and all-around megababe Paige Zaferiou, and she said that positive reversed cards are an area of potential that needs development.

Once you’ve completed the ritual, let the results simmer for a while. Come back to them after a day, and again after a week, and see how you feel. In my practice, a few names that came up felt perfect right away, while others needed more time to sink in. Both are totally valid.

After you’re done, if it feels good to you, I’d absolutely love to hear your experience with this practice. Feel free to send me an email or contact me on Twitter with your results!

Finally, my wish for you is this:

May claim your rightful names and right work with integrity and clarity.

Magical Miscellany: 3.23.2015

daffodil

Happy equinox! The daffodils and jasmine are blooming, and they smell so good. 

In case you missed it: last week, I had the pleasure of sharing 3 ways astrology can change your life on the ever-charming Heroine Training.

Thinking about going freelance? This post from The Coveteur tells you how to do it right, and what it’s really like to be self-employed.

I adore Veronica Varlow’s 3 tips on how to flirt (from a burlesque performer)! Her guide to putting your own magic into objects is delightful, too.

Do you work with a team? Here are 3 questions everyone in the group should be able to answer.

Want to create a home office or sacred space on a budget? Theresa Reed tells you how to furnish your tarot office on the cheap. She also has great advice (per usual).

Just pulled an all-nighter? This morning-after makeup tutorial should do the trick!

Mystic Medusa has been on a completely new level of awesome recently. The latest installments in her Mercury sign reading material and Style Your Ascendant features are fabulous. Also, she explains why I haven’t gotten a wink of sleep for the last 2 weeks!

Dealing with chronic pain and running a business? You’re not alone.

I loved Gala Darling’s account of her mid-winter Miami vacation (a.k.a. “escape from snow island”)! You can read it here, here, and here.

Ever wondered what Cleopatra’s beauty routine was? Now you can find out.

Finally: empty the tank.

Magical Miscellany: 3.16.2015

EA recording 1
EA recording 2

Did you know that Elemental Astrology includes audio of all 11 modules? This weekend my husband (a professional musician and recording engineer) turned our home into a studio for a marathon recording session. 

The course goes live at the end of this week (!), so there’s only a few days left to snag your copy at the preorder price! If you’re a mystic on a budget, take a look.

 What if I don’t know what I want?

How to use your work to get a better life

On walking slowly and smelling the jasmine

 15 classy ways to handle a fuck up

How I learned to live in my body

The truth about daily practice

24 outfit formulas for spring

Want to trust yourself more? You need discernment.

How to remain objective when you read tarot for the whole family

Excessive expectations block fulfillment.

Zoolander at Valentino!?

How to find a home in yourself

Magical Miscellany: 3.09.2015

Virgo full moon

After sending out my monthly forecast and e-letter, I did some serious full moon in Virgo divination. Not on my list yet? This is what you’re missing! If you like what you see, I’d love for you to subscribe. The next letter goes out before the Aries lunar eclipse.

I’m absolutely loving The Great Discontent. It’s a new, exquisitely designed magazine “featuring interviews on beginnings, creativity, and risk”. This interview with Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge is particularly inspiring.

There’s an asteroid Jimi Hendrix? Tell me more, please and thank you!

Jimmy Page on the magic(k) of rock and roll, as told by William Burroughs.

I really appreciated Kelly-Ann Maddox’s post on her approach to relationship tarot readings.

Confession: I’m interior design challenged, but this post on how to translate your personal style into a room is helping.

Dealing with the uncertainty that comes with entrepreneurship? Try these tips from Braid Creative.

Speaking of Braid Creative, did you know that Kathleen started a podcast with Emily of Indie Shopography? It’s called Being Boss, and it’s the best damn thing I’ve heard all year. Entrepreneurs, artists, and creatives: listen up!

Even if you work alone, you need these four people on your team.

These mash-ups of classical art and hip-hop are fantastic. My favorite? Zeus and Kanye. After all, he is a god.

Here’s what to do when chronic pain disrupts your creative flow.

Curious about walking between the worlds? Make sure you know these five ways to stay safe when working with spirits.

This numerology calculator will blow your mind. Give it a try and be amazed.

Want to start an online business? Sarah Morgan’s big badass guide to e-commerce platforms will help you get started.

Shauna Haider’s photos of the Beverly Hills Hotel are delectable. I’d love to visit Los Angeles!

If you aren’t already familiar with the Ellis Tarot deck from Paige Zaferiou’s daily tarot readings, take a look. It’s vivid, whimsical, and reads incredibly accurately. Ashes and Wine Tarot’s interview with the deck’s creator (Taylor Ellis) is fascinating. (Also, shout-out to all the gentlemen who read tarot. We need more of you!)