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!)

Cosmic Chat with Benebell Wen

SONY DSC

Yes, you read that right. Cosmic Chat is back!

Confession: when Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot arrived on my doorstep in an enormous box, I was confused. I didn’t remember ordering anything that large! As I opened it, I realized that her newly released tome was not your average tarot book. It’s encyclopedic both in size and scope, and in the best way possible. My copy already has a few creases in the spine, and I expect I’ll be referring back to it lots more in future tarot work. 

Benebell Wen is a rising star in the tarot community, and for good reason. She’s whip smart, and a consummate professional (literally, she practices corporate law!). It’s an absolute pleasure to host her here for the return edition of this feature.

You have Mercury, Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn all in Libra (and your eighth house)! How do you see this alignment playing out in your life?

Yeah, I have my sun, Saturn, Jupiter, Pluto, and Mercury all under Libra in the ninth house (per whole signs; or eighth house per Placidus). I suppose that renders me an elitist snob with pompous tastes if we’re assuming ninth house or neurotic, misunderstood, and likely to go through a mid-life crisis if we’re assuming eighth house. To be fair both sound about right.

What is your favorite part of your birth chart (if you had to choose)?

I find the party of planets going on under Libra’s watch in my ninth house (per whole signs; eighth house if we’re using Placidus) to be quite amusing. That Libra planet party situation (in particular Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn) is probably how I ended up practicing corporate law, even though I’m an Aquarius rising.

Is there a part of your chart that you find particularly challenging? If so, how do you make it work to your benefit?

Having a “bowl” chart pattern means I feel like there is something missing or lacking in my life and so instead of enjoying what I have, I’m consistently dissatisfied with the “have not” part, and strive compulsively to fill what I believe to be a void. I do see myself falling into that trap characteristic of those with “bowl” chart patterns. However, ultimately I suppose it does work to my benefit because it is what gives me drive and motivation to accomplish more.

My Scorpio Midheaven sign confuses me. Having Uranus sidled up right next to it is also confounding. Knowing that shines a beacon toward my so-called life purpose and knowing that my present actual life doesn’t reflect a Scorpio Midheaven conjunct Uranus is also challenging to me on both a spiritual and intellectual level. I’m not sure I’ve quite figured out how to make it work to my benefit yet!

This year, lucky Jupiter will get cozy with your Mars and moon. What part of your life would you most like to see expand, and how?

I would love to see my creative writing career expand and become something I can depend on financially. That would be very cool.

In Holistic Tarot, you talk about the astrology of tarot and how you can incorporate the zodiac into your tarot readings. Does astrology play a part in your personal tarot practice? If so, how?

Yes, as I learn more and more about Western astrology, more of it gets integrated into my personal tarot practice. When doing tarot readings, I often incorporate analysis of the client’s natal chart, though not a comprehensive natal chart reading. Instead, I’m looking specifically for facets of his or her natal chart that are relevant to the question at hand. I also like to dabble in horary astrology and see how the results there compare with the tarot reading. So far, every single time, the two align. That “as above so below” thing is no joke.

In my tarot practice, I use signifiers (aka significators), and I typically select a client’s signifier based on either the sun sign or ascendant sign. My “workhorse” professional reading deck also has the assigned decans and the corresponding astrological glyphs hand-written onto the corners of the cards, so I’ll often incorporate analysis of the decan correspondences into my tarot reading. When reading the cards for timing issues, I will incorporate astrology.

What message do you most hope Holistic Tarot conveys to your readers?

This is a tough question to answer. I don’t know if I have intentions for any one singular message. To those who start the book with no prior knowledge of tarot, I hope the book conveys to you that tarot is a tool for facilitating creative and intuitive thought. It’s a tool for tempering and reconciling otherwise disparate parts of your mind and helping you make enough sense of it to advance progressively in your life. To those who pick up the book as tarot enthusiasts who already have years maybe even decades of experience under their belts, I hope you will find the book to be a positive marker of where tarot practice is headed in the 21st century.

You can find Benebell through her website and on Twitter. Order a copy of Holstic Tarot here. I highly recommend it!

Magical Miscellany: 3.02.2015

where's the electricity

On Friday I started Esmé Wang’s beautiful new course,Where’s the Electricity. It’s a guide to getting creatively unstuck and refining the obsessions and themes that fuel your work, made for artists of all kinds. Esmé’s vivid writing coupled with the lovely audio are well worth the price of admission (it’s only $30!).

What I wish I’d known before writing a book. (I’d loved to have read this before I started Elemental Astrology!)

Self-help becoming self-hindrance? Let’s fix that.

Jacquelyn Tierney’s 20 Questions feature is genius! It’s a Cosmopolitan-style interview with up-and-coming modern mystics. You’re gonna love it.

As many of you know, I work at a major university as a research administrator when I’m not reading the stars. Do you have a day job too? This post on loving life at the office was insightful and a great reminder that your 9-to-5 is what you make of it.

On gender bending the tarot. 

The 10 easy ways to automate your blog and business from Sarah Morgan are a total lifesaver for me behind the scenes.

How do you create a brand that feels like “you”?

Why am I not doing the one thing I really want to do?

Try these 5 easy ways to make your bedroom a magical hideaway and make your boudoir a sacred space!

I know I already mentioned Esmé Wang once, but her sneak peek into her magical morning ritual is too good not to share.

It might get harder before it gets better (but it won’t be harder, forever).

Annika’s Sacred Podcast always brightens my morning commute. In the most recent episode, she features none other than The Tarot Lady herself: Theresa Reed. Listen up!

The Stars Are Waiting! Elemental Astrology Preorders are NOW OPEN

ElementalAstrology2_largeIt’s been a long time coming, and it’s finally here.

Today, Elemental Astrology is open for preorders!

If you’ve dreamed of learning how to use astrology for yourself, this course is exactly what you’ve been looking for. Hop over to the sales page to get the dirty details.

You can preorder Elemental Astrology now for $199.00. When the course goes live, the price will go up, so make sure to grab your copy early!

Finally, thank you for inspiring me to create this. I really did make it for you. I hope it brings you joy, clarity, and a multitude of aha moments.

Cheers to you. -A

Magical Miscellany: 2.23.2015

holistic tarot

For the last few weeks, I’ve been delving into Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot. Her exhaustive (seriously, it’s huge!) look at tarot in theory, practice, and profession has set the intuitive community on fire in the best way possible. I can’t wait to review it here. Until then, I suggest you pick up a copy for yourself. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

I’m enamored with minimalist blog Into Mind. Her social media minimalism detox worksheet and minimalist wardrobe FAQ are fun and useful! The elegant web design is just icing on the cake.

I love that Laura Simms of Create As Folk isn’t afraid to go against conventional wisdom. For example: you don’t need to find your passion to do what you love.

Remember, dream jobs wouldn’t be dream jobs if they were easily attainable.

Veronica Varlow’s posts are always so sexy. These 36 questions to make anyone fall in love with you are delectable.

I’m so excited to add these 9 podcasts for badass business babes to my queue!

There are positive things about being perfectly done up. It’s true, it makes you feel good.

You need your voice to make powerful magic.

Get comfortable in your creative entrepreneur skin.

Molly Crabapple on life and art: the best path is one you build out of your own dysfunction.

Little Fox Tarot interviewed Paige Zaferiou of Tarot and Tea, and the world nearly exploded with goodness.

Xandra of the ever-delightful Heroine Training shared her morning routine, and it sounds pretty reasonable! I’m going to incorporate some of these tips into my AM ritual.

Buying a new tarot deck is an exciting and joyous occasion, right?

Check out these 37 commonly misused words that can make you look bad. It’s a great review! (Confession: I’m guilty of a couple of these.)

Mary Oliver’s beautiful words on how habit gives shape to our inner lives are sublime. Also, if you haven’t read any of her work, start with Wild Geese.

Sincerity Sunday: Energy Drains and How to Stop Them

4 of water

Confession: I’ve been feeling pretty drained lately.

Are you feeling it too?

Astrologically, it makes sense. We’re in a period of major transition. Last week marked the beginning of the Year of the Goat, the Sun moved into Pisces, Venus and Mars danced into feisty Aries, and in a few short weeks we have the final alignment of Uranus and Pluto. The times, they are a changing.

You’re going to need plenty of energy make the most of these cosmic shifts. So, how do you replenish your personal energy supply?

You’ve got to stop your energy drains.

Here are a few of the most common energy drains I’ve seen in my own life:

Talking too much.

I know, I know. Aren’t we supposed to express ourselves? Certainly. Venting can be healthy, but when does it cross the line to become gossip? When you talk, you’re exchanging energy. What kind of energy do you want to put out into the world? Be intentional with your words. What are you saying? What are those around you saying? And most importantly, how does it make you feel?

Also, in my practice I’ve found that talking too much about a project (especially a creative work) before it’s complete can be detrimental to the final product. Scientists have found that talking about something you’re going to do gives your brain the same rush as if you actually did it, which makes you feel less pressure to complete it in real life. Yikes!

Poor boundaries.

In today’s nonstop society, it’s easy to succumb to the constant demands on our time and energy. There’s an unspoken expectation that we should be available around the clock, when that’s not necessarily the case. Of course we all have responsibilities that must be met, but it’s ultimately up to you to determine what’s urgent and what’s important in your life.

How much of your money, time, and resources can you commit without spreading yourself too thin? Or, how much can you do and still feel energized? Remember, you can always say no.

Negative people.

This one may be the straightforward, but it’s probably the most difficult one to deal with.

I’ve heard many people say that you’re the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. If that’s true, then who are you?

Do you have any friends, acquaintances, or colleagues that seem to always need something, but somehow evaporate when it’s time to return the favor? Or, is there anyone you have to interact with that leaves you feeling grimy, like you need to take a shower? In metaphysical speak, we call them psychic vampires. To put it simply, they drain your energy.

Psychic vampires aren’t necessarily doing this maliciously. As a matter of fact, many probably have no clue that they’re making you feel this way! In this case, make sure you put number two from this list into practice and communicate clear boundaries for your interactions with them.

Lack of self-care.

As much as we’d all like to think that our personal energy supply is an unending well, each of us has fluctuating energy levels. The ubiquitous posts on “how to be more productive” can leave you feeling less-than when you fail to measure up. If you’re already feeling drained, another productivity worksheet may well sap your energy even more. In order to bounce back, you’ve got to care for yourself.

The word “self-care” is tossed around a lot in personal improvement conversations, but what is it really? Self-care is any activity you do to help care for your body and well-being. Usually, there’s an implication of sensuality as it relates to these actions. Yoga, taking a bath, lighting a beautiful candle, and going to bed early are all common examples of ways to practice self-care.

My personal self-care secret is this: when times are tough, don’t strip your life of all luxury. Instead, give yourself a few strategic indulgences to replenish your dwindling reserves. You deserve it!

The basics.

When the bottom of your personal Maslow’s hierarchy is off (food, shelter, etc.), everything else will crumble because it lacks a foundation. Tend to the fundamentals of good food, adequate sleep, hygiene and exercise. It seems obvious, when when the going gets really tough, it can be easy to forget.

I absolutely, wholeheartedly hope these suggestions help you replenish your energy and brighten your life.

With intention. -A

PS- Going through a difficult time, but still want to do some magical work? Here’s how to tap into your intuition when shit hits the fan.

PPS- A while back, I had the honor of writing for Esmé Wang’s Off We Go series on entrepreneurship and mental illness. Check out my essay on managing my energy and living well with ADHD.

Photo credit: This card is the 4 of Water, from Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot. It’s all about paying attention to your inner well of energy and making sure you’re living a sustainable lifestyle. Fitting, no?

Magical Miscellany: 2.16.2015

elemental astro

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’re probably wondering why I’ve only posted the Miscellany for the last month. The reason? I’m pouring my entire heart and soul into Elemental Astrology, my first online course. If you’ve ever wanted to learn astrology, this will teach you how to read the stars like a pro.

Want to be notified when it goes live? Hop over to the left and add your name to my VIP list! If you’re already a subscriber, you’ll be notified too.

Mark your calendars for February 25. It’s coming!

10 slow and difficult steps to moderate success. (Hint: they’re not what you think).

Theresa Reed (a.k.a. The Tarot Lady) dished out some serious wisdom on her blog this week with posts on which tarot cards indicate mental burnout and the do’s and don’ts when a tarot client wants to talk about a serious illness.

I love The Laughing Medusa’s roundup of rituals, routines, and real talk for getting inspired!

You’re not lazy. You’re just afraid.

This gripping account of the impact mental illness has on a marriage is a must read: My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward.

On anxiety and making things. These charts are hilarious (and insightful)!

Ever wonder how bloggers always seem to have perfect backgrounds for their Instagram photos? Try these photo background hacks! Confession: I’m totally stealing these.

And in totally weird news, this Belgian chocolatier wants you to snort chocolate like cocaine. (Fun fact: he made this device for Keith Richards, of course!)