Weekly Heart-Message


The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews, Dragonhawk Press copyright 2007


My I love myself enough to reclaim what is mine – to not allow others (or indeed myself) to bury me in the rubble of a chaotic fall.



“Pride goeth before a fall.” So says a paraphrased scripture from the book of James in the Christian Bible. But we need to think about the role of pride after we’ve experienced the Tower. Even if pride played a roll in precipitating this Tower experience, that doesn’t mean you should write pride off as an all-evil trait. Tarot’s greatest lesson is balance, and just as too much pride can get us in hot water, so too little pride can wreak havoc in our lives. If we lack pride, we may choose to never extract ourselves from the rubble of the Tower. We may allow others to belittle us and believe we deserve that treatment. Pride is a part of the recipe for healthy self-perception and therefore for interactions with others in the world around us.

    • Have you had an experience that crushed your pride or left you will a great feeling of self-doubt or unworthiness?
    • If you struggle or have struggled with a lack of pride, what is the internal narrative that keeps a healthy pride from growing within you? (It can be good to write these down — actually see them and put them into specific words.)
    • How might you replace these messages? What are counter-arguments you can consciously say to yourself to combat these self-destructive thoughts?
    • What are you proud of? What accomplishments and character traits should you let yourself embrace with pride?

It might feel very silly to have a conversation with your own thoughts if it’s not something you’ve done before, but the narrative you keep (whether conscious or unconscious) is powerful. So it can be incredibly empowering to take control of that narrative and create a new story that is a better reflection of who you are — which is a person worthy of love, respect, kindness, and care.

Weekly Heart-Message

The Four of Pentacles, Three of Pentacles, Five of Cups, and Four of Wands on a linen cloth with crystals

The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews, Dragonhawk Press copyright 2007


May I trust myself and my abilities as I set and reach for my goals.



Often it is easier for us to see the gifts of others and to deny our own abilities. This inaccurate understanding of ourselves can cause us to close doors that very well may be wonderful and joyful opportunities for us. Imagine what your life could be like if those dreams you hold in the bottom of your heart and deny are possible and could be awakened and realized.

    • What dreams have I denied myself through self-doubt?
    • If I am honest with myself, what am I really good at that I often don’t acknowledge or give myself credit for?
    • If I embrace these strengths and abilities, what goals suddenly become a reachable possibility?

My Struggle with Self-Care


In this post, my goal is to share one of the big self-care strategies that has worked for me. I don’t claim to have all the answers; I just believe in being open about my mental health struggles in order to hopefully help destigmatize these struggles and to share tools that may help others.

I have seen several counselors, and I take anti-depressants. Both of these have been important for managing my mental health. In this post, I’m going to focus on the things I do (or am planning to do) outside of counseling and meds — though those two things are definitely self-care as well!

Frame with floral background, the days of the week, and paper markers for things to accomplishSeveral years ago, I was at a very, very low point. I could make it to work … usually, if I could rush out the door before I started crying and couldn’t stop. At home I did nothing. I didn’t want to do anything, I couldn’t even think of anything to do. Any things I could think of felt absolutely and completely overwhelming. I wasn’t cooking or cleaning much or at all, and I wasn’t taking very good care of myself. Holding up my end of friendships wasn’t happening, and I felt such a huge, sucking emptiness somewhere between despair and numbness.

I thankfully had a good counselor at this time. I don’t even remember how this came about, but we started brainstorming a list of things I could do. An actual written list I could take home and look at when I was not in a space to be able to think of anything by myself. So I took home my list written on yellow legal paper, and that list gave me a sense of purpose that I hadn’t felt in a while. I was trying to think of some way I could reward myself when I did something. A friend and I had long ago abandoned a project involving using a frame and clips to make a menu board, but that gave me an idea.

A mason jar filled with laminated paper tabsI put together a frame with the days of the week running down one side and two columns of velcro dots next to those. Then I made little tabs of laminated paper, each with one item from the list I made with the counselor and their own velcro dot. I’ve posted a picture here of the frame that I made. (Sadly cracked now!)

I kept all of the tabs in a mason jar, and sometimes I would try to plan a whole week out, and sometimes I would decide that day what I might be capable of. For me, it was really helpful to dump out that jar of things to do and sift through looking for something I could possibly accomplish. And they weren’t all “chores.” Many were (like “match socks” and “vacuum”), but others were more fun (even if they felt super hard to do) like “knit,” “write a letter,” and “have a friend over.”

My reward was to move the one thing for the day to the second column to show I’d done it. And it really did make me feel good when I was able to do that. And there were plenty of days where I was not able to do that. But this really was one tool that gave me somewhere to start. And that made a huge difference. Later I made a board for exercise, and all the tabs were different ways I could move my body. I had a chore one and a more “fun” one too.

I honestly still struggle with structuring my time to include sufficient self-care. Now that I am in a much better place, I can get more than one thing done a day, and I have a tough time deciding how much to do, what to do, and when to do it. I’m still experimenting with different ways to use a planner or bullet journal or lists or whatever. I’m currently trying to create a visual system where I break my to-dos into four categories: work, play, care, and home. Something for my bullet journal that isn’t quite an activity tracker and isn’t quite a regular day-to-day calendar. I’m stubborn and obsessive, so I’ll come up with something! And I’ll pass it along when I do 🙂

If you haven’t heard of bullet journals, they can be incredibly cool because the whole point is that it works for you. If you google or youtube bullet journals, you will find mountains of information. Just don’t get intimidated by all the people with artistically elaborate ones. Those are obviously cool, but if that’s not your thing, that’s okay. Mine is black pen, pencil, and some stickers. (Stickers for motivation to complete tasks for me, because it delights my inner child!)

The Energetic Well

A girl sits at a well with a broken pitcher at her feet

“The Broken Pitcher” by William-Adolphe Bourguereau

I’ve been frustrated with myself over the last couple of years for failing to stick to my plan of regularly posting on my blog and of posting daily on my Instagram. But I’m done being frustrated with myself.

I’ve been a busy, busy bee. Not just in my daily life of juggling depression and cptsd with teaching and grading and trying to still at the end of the day be a halfway decent person for my husband to be around. Not just those things. I’ve been deep down in my Moon-y subconscious processing and transforming trauma. It’s been draining my energetic well faster than I can refill it! Even if the vast majority of days I couldn’t see it and didn’t feel like I was making progress. Even when I felt disheartened.

I did attempt to be gentle with myself — to sit with the unpleasant and uncomfortable feelings and to not rush healing. To cut myself some slack when I wasn’t able to reach my goals. I can’t say I was successful all the time — or even most of the time — but it did get easier the more I really practiced it.

However, recently I have felt a release. Something has changed. If I was a seed, I’ve finally pushed through the dirt and I can see the sun. I’m a sprout! I still have growing to do and lots of hard work, but where I am now is nowhere near the place I have spent the last few years.

That doesn’t mean I’m not still juggling depression and cptsd with the rest of my life, and it doesn’t mean that my energetic well is magically full or “normal.” It just means I am feeling better than I was, that I have become so much better at honoring my own needs, and that the energy that was being used up while I was a seed is now available to use for growth in my next season of life.

Through this transition, I am finally settling into a space where I accept and embrace my limitations. If I set goals that are unreasonable for the energetic well I have to draw from, of course I won’t be able to achieve them. Respecting and monitoring my energetic well has forced me to prioritize and say “no” more often. It has made me let go of some of my perfectionism (some) and shown me what it feels like to not constantly be “running on e.”

I am going to set a goal to revive my website because it gives me joy. I will just be more realistic about how often I am able to post. Posting “regularly” doesn’t have to doesn’t have to mean every few days or every week. If I can get one post a month up, I will be very pleased with myself.

One girl tips a pitcher to another's lips

“At the Fountain” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

It has been transformative to take charge and start guarding my energetic well. I often categorized so many things as “oughts” and “have to’s” that I felt I had no choice but to be run down and, inevitably, have regular emotional crises when I would have no energy at all left to deal with even “small” things.

I had no idea that many of the things I took on I didn’t actually have to do. And (healthy relationship) people wouldn’t hate me for not doing this or saying no to that. I sure would have liked to know these things earlier, but I don’t know if that would have been possible. I needed a lot of experience and practice. And let’s be honest, I don’t even think I’m great at monitoring my energetic well now — I’m just way better than I used to be. So I still have lessons and practice ahead of me.

Like when one of my first counselors said I should just tell a toxic person I wouldn’t speak with them if they talked to me a certain way. “Uh, what are you even saying to me?? Let’s get back to reality, lady.” There was absolutely no way I could go from being totally submissive and fearful and feeling obligation to being assertive enough to say, “Don’t speak to me like that.” I needed lots of tinier practices leading up to standing up for myself.

So this is not a post where I tell you that I have it all figured out and you should too. Just a post where I reflect on the journey and feel really good about where I have found myself. I know I’ve got trials ahead, that I’ll make mistakes, that I’ll be angry with myself. And yet, I am still proud when I turn around and see what I’ve left behind.

Don’t Tell Me To Look For The Silver Lining


Don’t Tell Me To Look For The Silver Lining

Dandelion & Queen of Swords (Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot, U.S. Games copyright 2013)

I’ve been away from my blog for quite a while now, mostly due to attempting to get a handle on my depression and some recent trauma. I’ve done a lot of thinking about trauma, emotions, conflict, positivity, and negativity. Here I try to organize these thoughts.

I know there is a lot of popular talk about the power of perspective and choice in how we feel. The ole, “You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react.” I get it, and I agree with it to a point for “smaller” life happenings. However, like most advice I’ve gleaned from Tarot since I began practicing, I believe this adage is best understood as having positive and negative aspects, a time and a place.

I have had a life full of trauma. I’m not looking for pity – it’s just a fact. And I am not interested in anyone telling me that I can work through all that trauma with the “power of positive thinking.” Fuck that shit. The power of positive thinking is for:

  • Choosing to not complain when my husband doesn’t replace the trash bag.
    “I can do it myself!”
  • Brushing off repeated spam calls or a rude cashier.
    “Some folks just getting paid beans to do their job, and maybe they’re having a bad day. No reason to make it worse or let it consume my day!”
  • The neighbor’s dog escaping their yard (again), coming onto my porch, and sticking its face in my glass of iced tea.
    “What a cute, friendly dog!”

The power of positive thinking is not for trauma, abuse, and betrayal. Maybe it does work for some folks, but I am not one of those folks, and I don’t think folks like me should give ourselves one more thing to feel bad about because we say, “No! There is no silver lining, this didn’t happen for a reason, and I’m sad and pissed and devastated and messed up. Things are not okay, and I won’t act like they are!”

Because of my background, I have a strong, visceral reaction when I hear any of the following:

  • Turn the other cheek
  • Everything happens for a reason
  • Look for the silver lining
  • You control how you feel

“Turn the other cheek,” says to me, “Your feelings are worth less than your abuser’s. Keep taking the abuse.” I am fond of explaining that a person only has so many cheeks.

“Everything happens for a reason,” says to me, “Your pain and suffering is inevitable, unavoidable, and what god / goddess / the universe / source / etc wants for you.” No, actually, my trauma-level pain and suffering would be quite avoidable if certain people had not abused me.* And I am worth more than being treated like trash! Period.

“Look for the silver lining,” is like a hybrid between “the power of positive thinking” and “everything happens for a reason.” Surely there’s some lesson so shiny and pretty that this was all worth it! Nope. There’s not.

“You control how you feel,” is another way of saying that there are good and bad emotions and that you should only “choose” the good ones. No and no. Our emotions communicate important information to us about what is going on, and even the uncomfortable, painful ones are important to honor and acknowledge. Those are the ones that tell us, “Hey, something’s not right here.” That a boundary is being violated, that the rug has been pulled out from under us, that maybe just because something has “always” been one way doesn’t mean it should keep being that way. These emotions, such as fear, anger, and sadness, are our bodies waving flags at us: “Hey! Some evaluation is needed here!”

The loveliness of positivity gets a lot of press. And that’s, well, lovely. But I think it is incredibly important for people who are survivors of trauma and abuse to also hear that positivity is not always the right answer. Because when this advice is given to survivors, it can feel an awful lot like, “Shh, nobody wants to hear that,” or, “It couldn’t have really been as bad as you say.” And that further alienates and isolates us, making it more difficult to heal and feel like valuable, worthwhile people.

I am the Queen of Swords. I have been to hell and back, and I don’t want any pithy advice that (surely unintentionally) invalidates my emotions, experiences, and understanding of self.

*I am definitely aware that abusers can be people who have been abused themselves. At the same time, I do believe that once we reach adulthood, we must do everything in our power to do the difficult shadow-work and not pass on that legacy. Are there structural / cultural issues that need to be addressed that would empower, assist, and encourage people to better heal and recognize their behaviors? Without a doubt! Sometimes “everything in our power” isn’t enough as individuals to heal / change / grow. Community and access to resources are so important. Perhaps that’s a post for another time.

Weekly Meditation: 28 Nov 2016


Three of Pentacles & The Empress (The Wild Unknown Tarot, 2nd ed, HarperElixer copyright 2016)

A meditation for the week of November 28 – December 4

May I remember that caring for loved ones often takes a village.


This meditation hits home for me this week. My sister had her first baby on Wednesday, and today Mr. Donkey and I found out that a different family member is in the hospital in serious condition. Through joy and through sorrow, it takes a village.

Weekly Meditation: 22 Nov 2106

Raccoon & Shark (The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit by Kim Krans, copyright 2016)

Raccoon & Shark (The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit by Kim Krans, copyright 2016)

A meditation for the week of November 22 – November 27

This week, may I carefully weigh what parts of myself to share with others and what parts to keep hidden away.


In Kim Krans’ guidebook for this deck, each of these cards speaks to what is hidden and what needs to be brought into the light. Sometimes we hide parts of ourselves or our feelings from fear of rejection or retaliation. Sometimes we hide parts of ourselves in self-protection. And these are not always bad things. Take this week to decide what parts of yourself should remain secret (or sacred) and what parts of yourself might be good to share with others. You can share with the whole world, or you can share with a select person(s). And if they are worthy of your time and love, they will be grateful for the insight into who you are — whether that is a magical aspect of yourself or a part of yourself you struggle with.

This message is particularly poignant for me this week, and I will certainly be meditating on this at great length

Weekly Meditation: 14 Nov 2016



A meditation for the week of November 14 – November 20

No matter the trials I may face this week, may I remember to remain connected to those I love and who love and support me in return.


This last week has been very intense, to say the least, for many people. As these emotions bleed into this week or as new trials arise, remember that you are not alone. Turn to your (chosen) family and your friends. Ask for a shoulder to cry on or a night at the movies. Share your joys and fears, and ask for help if you need it. Or if you are able to, provide help to someone else who may be struggling.

Tower moments can leave us feeling isolated, dazed, and fearful. But there is always someone to reach out to. If you feel unable to reach out to someone you love, call a crisis hotline. I have the National Suicide Prevention Hotline listed on my Resources page, but many more are available <3

Weekly Meditation: 7 Nov 2016

Ace of Wands & Page of Wands (Cat's Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin, U.S. Games copyright 2011)

Ace of Wands & Page of Wands (Cat’s Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin, U.S. Games copyright 2011)

A meditation for the week of November 7 – November 13

Have I been stuck in a rut lately? Might a new interest or hobby add a new spark to my life? This week, may I allow myself to explore something new and see what excites me.


And here the wands make a return to our Weekly Meditations! But this week’s message from tarot asks us to think about whether we have something in our life that excites us. Would a new interest help to add a little spark, a little pep to our life? Is there a topic you’d like to learn more about? A spiritual practice you’d like to adopt? A hobby you’d like to give a try? A place you’d like to visit?

For me, this week’s message speaks to my brand new bullet journal. I am officially jumping on the bullet journal bandwagon and spent a good bit of time this weekend getting it organized and figuring out what might work for me. I have felt stuck in a rut and like I wasn’t prioritizing things that give me that spark in life since I’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately. I am very excited about this new organization tool in my life — and it will not only help me to prioritize things are important to me — but it is fun! And so adds a bit of spark on its own 🙂

Weekly Meditation: 1 Nov 2016

Four of Swords & The Moon (Circle of Life Tarot, Llewellyn Publications copyright 2008)

Four of Swords & The Moon (Circle of Life Tarot by Maria Distefano, Lo Scarabeo copyright 2007)

A meditation for the week of November 1 – November 6

Shhh. This week may I remember to slow down and listen to my body, mind, and spirit. What kind of rest or refill do I need?


I had to smile when I saw these cards. Such a welcome message! I took Sunday to rest, and I worked like a dog yesterday during the day so I could enjoy Halloween evening with Mr. Donkey and our visiting trick-or-treaters. (Hence this meditation being a day late this week! I needed to unplug.)

The last three weeks’ meditations have been so wand-heavy. This week’s cards urge you to stop and listen to your inner voice: what does you body, mind, and/or spirit tell you you need? Do you need rest? Do you need to engage in something (or with someone) in order to refuel or refill yourself? Take a nap, go for a walk, meditate, read a book, or cuddle a loved one (human or animal!). Your health — physical, mental, and spiritual — is incredibly important. Treat yourself and listen to  yourself like someone valuable.