Doing vs. Being, and the Father of Swords

This past summer, I decided I needed to reinvigorate my morning routine (as in make one). I wanted to exercise, meditate a little, maybe read a few pages of an inspiring book to get my head ready for the day. I really wanted to do these things, or so I thought.

The problem was, I'd wake up in the morning, and -- well, not want to do them. Like, REALLY not want to do them, as in "you can't make me, I'm going to throw a tantrum" not want to. What the heck?It confused me, because I figured that these were all nurturing, beneficial things, and they would make me feel better, and I needed more "going within" time. Shouldn't I be wanting to do them?

But clearly that argument wasn't holding water. So I pulled a card from my favorite deck, The Wild Unknown, to try and shed a little light on the situation. It was the Father of Swords, a very stern-looking owl with a piercing gaze. This card is pretty much the ultimate male voice, the lord of intellect and structure. What on earth did he have to tell me? Suddenly it struck me that doing these things in the morning wasn't a matter of my FEELING like I wanted to do them. It wasn't about being in the mood, or being anything. It was about DOING. It was a matter of structure and discipline, and just not letting myself off the hook.

I was surprised that I hadn't even thought of that as a solution, and it occurred to me that maybe it's because I discount that male voice, or associate it with the craptastic inner critic and won't even hear it. This was a big eureka moment for me -- that a rather stern and uncompromising structure and sticking to a plan was what I needed, even in relation to something as internal as meditation. 

Learning to discern the voices within us is an important part of self-development -- or just getting anything done. Sometimes the voices are those of our parents, or the media, or the congealed whine of unhelpful feelings such as guilt or shame. Sometimes the voices are parts of us that we're just unfamiliar with. Regardless, our assumptions of who we are and how we work are often incorrect. Using the tarot can be a way of holding a mirror to ourselves to see what we wouldn't otherwise look at. 

The Magician and the High Priestess

The Magician and the High Priestess are the first two archetypes The Fool meets on his journey, and they are the masculine and feminine faces of power.

The Magician is traditionally shown as a kick-ass guy with lots of tools that represent his ability to exert power over the external world. He's a bit of a showman, and while his power is over the elements this doesn't stop him from having fancy tools.

He tells the Fool that he has all he needs to make his way in the world and shows him how. He is about acting, making a change in the world. His is the masculine, yang energy that's visible, measurable, and the kind of thing that can keep us busy for a while feeling like we're accomplishing a lot. 

The High Priestess, on the other hand, is a quieter but equally commanding figure, who beckons you to deeper knowledge. She may be a mentor or a teacher, or she might just be your grandmother.

She tells the Fool that he doesn't need anything but himself, that all the tools he needs he will find within himself. This work is quiet, internal, not immediately visible. Hers is the female yin energy that appears passive but in terms of delving into the human unconscious can require quite an amount of work.

In the context of working on this blog, the Magician tells me "Wordpress will be your bitch!" The High Priestess, perhaps with a wry smile, says "Don't worry about finding stuff to write about--you're full of wisdom and ideas. Just remember to set aside time to really spend with your thoughts."

Generally, you need both of these to be an actualized human being. It can be dangerous to act out your will in the world without wisdom or judgment, and equally foolish to know everything and do nothing. Again, these are archetypes, and don't mean that a magician is always  male and a high priestess female. We each have both within us. 

Each of these archetypes will be needed at different times and in different situations, especially if your life tends to be unbalanced. If you've been thinking and writing and journaling and reading to solve a problem, the Magician might tell you it's time to DO STUFF. If you've been overextending yourself in the work world, the High Priestess might tell you it's time to invest in yourself and spend a weekend at a personal development seminar, or just take a vacation and read.

The trick is making sure both these voices get heard in a healthy manner, and that what you're hearing is YOUR voice, not your parents' or your grandparents', or what you hear on TV or read in magazines.  Some people are good at hearing their own inner voices, while others benefit from the image on a card to remind themselves of good advice. Remember though that however you visualize the archetypes, power is authentic only if it comes from you.

Faces of Personal Power

What do you think of first when you think of "Power?" It's probably pretty messed up. We think of kings, politicians, abuse thereof. Maybe we think of athletes, celebrities or personal heroes. But in terms of yourself, what's inside you, how do you work with and visualize that? The basic definition of power is " the ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something." 

This is very similar to how we use the word "potential" in physics, to describe stored energy, energy that can (and very likely will) be used.

Note that in this definition, power isn't in the using, it's the ability to use if one so desires; that one has the energy to act and that all systems are go.

All definitions aside, there are different types of power, and because we are human and have brains that like to categorize things, it's a lot easier when we give things name, like yin and yang, male and female, internal and external. It's important to note that we are all made of up a spectrum of qualities, and things like gender and sexuality are also hard to define. When we talk about "masculine" and "feminine" power, as I will below, it's just words associated with archetypes, or well-understood ways of being. You can view archetypes as characters in a story, and anyone can play them. Everyone can exhibit masculine or feminine ways of doing things, in different combinations at any time.

Masculine, or yang energy, is traditionally described as forceful, extending outward, acting externally. Feminine, or yin energy, on the other hand, is receptive, passive, going inward and plumbing the depths within. Neither one is more valuable than the other. One is doing, one is being. We need both.

Where things get really confusing is that we often unconsciously obscure these faces of power within ourselves with the messed up dynamics we learned growing up. If you have daddy issues, chances are the male voice within you has not been nurtured or heard properly. If you spent your childhood being overrun by an overbearing mother, you may not be able to trust yourself to wield your own feminine power properly.

Even if you think things were "normal," sometimes we have strange, unexamined baggage that's been passed down through generations. We also have the normal challenges of finding balance within ourselves as complex human beings dealing with other complex human beings. 

Ideally, you will have a balance of being and doing, of the feminine and the masculine. You will be able to go within and discover new truths and understandings, and create the space for yourselves and others to grow. You will also be able to get shit done, build things, and put things in order. You will not do one at the expense of the other, or think that you only get to pick one. At any one time, you might feel one more than the other or find one aspect more needed in a particular situation. 

The trick is to be able to see, honor, and respect these things in yourself and other people. ​We live in a culture where we have begun to see and understand the trauma of our history, but don't know how to make ourselves whole. Instead, we fight against things we see in others that might very well be our own shadows. Shining light on our own dark places and letting our own internal voices speak with autonomy and clarity  is the best way to ensure that we treat ourselves kindly and effectively. Perhaps in the process of doing so we can reflect this peace and intelligence outward.

The Fool’s Dog

Every year, I resolve to make  a new web site. I do all sorts of epic stuff, and then...well, shit happens. Somewhere in the process of excreting multiple child-sized life forms, I agreed that I would a) keep them alive, b) drive them everywhere, and c) ratchet my brain back to default setting at least once every week. 

I don't know where anything is, ​Wordpress is making me angry, and yet, I can remember EVERY lyric to possibly every Duran Duran song. This does not feel like progress.

Such is the life of The Fool.

As much as the Fool indicates a new beginning, I’ve had my issues with this archetype. It's really hard to put yourself in the perspective of really appreciating "beginner's mind," especially as you get older. It's humbling, and daunting, no matter how exciting it might be,  Over the past few years, I keep getting that pesky guy whenever I play around with my tarot decks, and my response is usually "Oh shit, not again." . Really — who wants to start over? Again and again? Does starting anew mean you're getting somewhere new, or does it mean you just haven’t gotten anywhere the first time?

The biggest  challenge I think,  with new starts, is the stress associated with waiting to make that first jump. You’re just looking at the abyss, and wondering whether you remembered to pack snacks or if there’s anything at the bottom. It doesn’t feel new, it doesn’t feel like you’re on the yellow brick road, and it sure as heck doesn’t feel like the right way to start anything. Much of the time, you don't even know if you'll get where you're going, or even where THERE is. As we get older, especially, we want guarantees, we want to know whether something is worth our time or will make us healthier or happier and we want to know exactly how long it will take, how much it will cost, and whether it's covered by our insurance plan. New starts are for kids. This can make sense for some intentional endeavors; after all, we're mortal (presumably) and need to budget out time and resources. The problem is when when life hands us a journey and doesn't give a shit whether it's in the day planner or not.

In my coaching circles, we call this Square 1. Basically, that’s when everything goes to shit. The caterpillar, when it cocoons itself, dissolves into a pile of mush on it’s way to becoming a butterfly. I’d imagine it doesn’t have a very big brain if it has one at all, but it probably has no idea that it’s going to turn into to something awesome. It just thinks the world is ending. 

The same thing happens when we’re in the first throes of dramatic change, except our brains are bigger and we can torment ourselves with uncertainty, despair, and grief. The first few steps are real hard, and most of the time we don’t even have company. At least the fool has his dog.

Several times in the past few years I’ve jumped into an uncertain future--though I do have the dog. If I collected all her hair, I could keep myself quite warm, and her kibble is pretty fancy and probably quite nutritious. Where am I going with this? I am not sitting at home eating dog food and self-soothing by humming Duran Duran songs--because that is totally not the way to go through life let alone rock the whole life coach thing.  Instead, I've reminded myself that the whole point of life is the journey and sharing it with other people. And so, here I am. 

We all love The Fool because he's the consummate wild card, who can say or do anything. He's full of possibility and definitely good for a laugh at his own expense.  A little trickster energy never hurt anyone. So maybe one of the best lessons of The Fool is to remember to be a companion for someone else,  to bark up a storm and demand to go out for that walk. Because the first step is the hardest. 

Journal Prompt – Working with the Fool

In The Fool card, the fool is traditionally accompanied by a dog, his trusty sidekick. Sometimes, the road is easier with company. Who or what would your ideal companion be? Describe him, her, or it, and how this makes your journey easier. 

​Then, write a paragraph of two as your companion. What does it say to you, what wisdom does it have to offer? You can consider this companion to be an alternative to the "inner critic," the good old voice we all have that varies in gender, tone, and other characteristics but is generally an asshat.

Feel free to consult your companion later if you need the company.​

Tarot for Teddy – The Three-Card Reality Check

While people can work with tarot cards individually, it's most common that you'll work with at least a few at a time. An arrangement of tarot cards is called a "Spread," and each spread is usually designed to either answer a specific category of question, or be a workhorse for asking pretty much any kind of question.

If you go for a tarot "reading," the reader will have you ask a question and then blindly choose cards from the deck. The reader will then put them down in the spread for you as you choose them and interpret the spread based on their knowledge of the cards. A good reader will work with you rather than just reciting information, and help you construct a meaning from what you see. You can do this for yourself by reading the cards intuitively or if you have knowledge of the cards' meanings, but many people find it hard to relax into their intuition and go a little overboard checking "the book" for the meanings. This is why an experienced reader is worth the money -- they have "digested" the meanings of the cards and how they relate to each other, and can figure out what the cards mean for *you*.

There are ways you can work with the cards intentionally, in that you choose cards that represent specific things for you and then either journal or do exploratory work. This is a good way to use the cards if you are not comfortable with going anywhere near the concept of divination or synchronicity or anything remotely "woo woo."

Sometimes it's fun combining both. I've found that picking cards unseen is often amazingly accurate, and usually lets a little air into what might otherwise be my mind just walking the same territory over and over again. The point isn't where the information comes from -- it's just finding some wisdom in the situation that you otherwise wouldn't access.

In this post, we'll introduce a basic spread, and a way to work with the tarot in both a representational and a "divinatory" manner. Each month I will introduce you to different spreads and tools, as well as different decks so that you can see what you like and what works for you.

If you wonder why the blog picture is a teddy bear, that's because Teddy is our guinea pig for the year. Tarot writer Bennebell Wen recommends that if you want to learn to be a tarot reader, it's handy to practice by getting comfortable reading for your teddy bear or something else inanimate and possibly stuffed.

Mostly, we'll be reading for Teddy so that you can follow along with a "real" client (or querent in tarot language) and see how the interpretations worked for him. By the end of the year, you'll get a pretty good look into the complex mind of our friend Ted.

One of the most common spreads is the three card spread. It can be read as any triad of three -- past, present, future; body, mind, spirit; head, heart, and hands -- whatever you wish. We'll use it as past, present, future.

First, we'll ask Ted to think about a specific issue or conflict, and the energies involved in it. Then, he'll look at all the cards and pick out three that represent how he has dealt with the situation in the past, how he thinks he's dealing with it in the present, and what he thinks will happen in the future. This will give him a good picture of his "modus operandi" regarding the situation. Then, we will have him shuffle the deck, ask something like "what was and is really going on with this situation," and pick three face down cards.

For this reading, we'll use the Fenestra Tarot. The Fenestra Tarot corresponds directly to the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith deck, which is the one that most books of meanings are written about, but has much more pleasing art (at least to me).

Teddy, who has a massive crush on a stuffed duck, is wondering whether he stands a chance with his cross-species love, who doesn't seem to know he exists. He rifles through the deck and picks the following cards:

The cards are, in order, the Five of Cups, the Hermit, and the Three of Wands. Teddy explains his choices: "I've always felt like I have so much to offer, but she isn't interested and I'm lonely. Right now, I'm trying so hard to make her notice me, but I'm really sure that she has better things to do and doesn't even notice me."

I point out how it's interesting that both figures are looking away from the card in the center. I also wonder, I tell him, if maybe the light he thinks he's shining is only visible to him. Maybe, also, he might just be standing there expecting her to notice him instead of actually doing anything to interact with her?

Then, Teddy shuffles the deck and asks what's really going on with him and his beloved duck. Perhaps we can shine some sort of light into his depressed little soul. He picks:

​From left to right, we have the Queen of Wands, the Chariot, and the Ace of Disks. The Queen of Wands, staring right at us, is a woman of spirit and charm. The Chariot means go ahead and aim for your goal. (As a side note, this is the ONE card of the Fenestra Tarot that people often have an issue about -- I mean, is that guy riding two sphinx women? What the heck? In most Chariot cards the driver is steering two horses who, without his direction, look like they might want to go different ways.)  The Ace of Disks is one of the most hopeful cards in the deck, meaning the beginning of something new or real, something about to happen. 

As I told Teddy, looking at the two different spreads gives me some thoughts. First, perhaps in the past he's always been worried about himself and about what he has to offer instead of paying attention to his friend the Duck. The Chariot suggests that he might be more active and confident in the present, and perhaps pursue his love instead of just hoping she notices him. And certainly the Ace of disks gives him hope for the future!  This spread certainly paints a different picture than what he chose to represent his feelings. Perhaps now that he sees how much his thoughts might have colored his reality, he might have a better time of things!

What’s a Life Coach?

"What the heck is a life coach," is one of the most common questions I get other than "Why don't we have any good snacks," and "Where are my socks?" (These questions are from my kids - if you ask me these things I will NOT have a good answer to give you, though I could make something up that will amuse us both). Answering a question about life coaching is something that I can answer -- though what you need from a life coach will totally depend on you and your situation.

People generally know what a psychologist is, or a therapist, or a witch doctor, or a plumber. These things are obvious. A baseball coach coaches baseball, and a football coach football, but how the heck do you coach LIFE? Usually, you'll go to a psychologist or a therapist if you have some sort of mental illness or trauma. They're trained for that sort of thing. It's like having a physical therapist versus a training coach if you've had a specific injury that needs addressing and healing.

A life coach, on the other hand, deals in optimization. You've got game, but you want to improve your cadence or your focus. In my practice, I view it as getting from OK to awesome. Often we have a sense that our lives could be better, that there's a future version of us that we're meant to be--if we could just figure out how to get from here to there.Life gets in the way of finding our best selves, though, in many ways. We don't make ourselves a priority, we don't have tools for self-examination, we don't hold ourselves accountable, or we're stuck in ways of thinking that we can't unbind ourselves from.

As a life coach, I create the sacred space for you to view yourself from a place of love and objectivity. I give you the tools to change your perspective on how you think about yourself and others. I kick your ass when you tell me you "didn't have time to do your homework."What this means in reality is that I help you pick apart the areas of your life where you are less than satisfied, air out places which are stale and unexamined, and help lead you toward the inner knowledge of who you really are.I do this by listening, asking questions, and giving you ways of working with your thoughts and problems so that you feel more excited about your life. Sometimes the changes are small, sometimes they're amazing. Even small progress can be life-changing.

You can hire a life coach on an ongoing basis to invest in yourself, or short-term to work through a specific issue. I've worked with a few coaches myself, and in each case have been surprised by how much better I felt afterwards. Even as a life coach who SUPPOSEDLY knew "all the things," it was amazing to me to personally experience how we miss things or let ourselves off the hook unless someone is there to point our shit out to us. One of them suggested that I do exactly the same kind of thing I did in a similar situation previously. Who knew?

Different life coaches will, of course, have different approaches and training. A good one though will help you figure out whether you'd benefit from working with them before they charge you. It's also important just to get a sense of whether you're a good match, because personalities vary.Regardless of who you pick, or how much time you invest, you deserve to have the best life you can. Don't just settle for "ok!"

It used to be that “What the heck is a life coach,” was one of the most common questions I got other than “Why don’t we have any good snacks,” and “Where are my socks?” (These questions are from my kids – if you ask me these things I will NOT have a good answer to give you, though I could make something up that will amuse us both). But these days the phrase “life coach” is so five years ago that everyone’s kind of forgotten why they should bother with us in the first place.

Different life coaches will, of course, have different approaches and training. A good one though will help you figure out whether you’d benefit from working with them before they charge you. It’s also important just to get a sense of whether you’re a good match, because personalities vary. Regardless of who you pick, or how much time you invest, you deserve to have the best life you can. Don’t just settle for “ok!”

A Coach is Different Than a Therapist

You’ll definitely need a therapist instead of a coach if you have some sort of mental illness or trauma. They’re trained for that sort of thing. But you still might want a coach. Let’s go with a sports metaphor: if you’ve had a specific injury you’ll definitely want a specialist and perhaps a physical therapist. But you may still want a training coach to keep you motivated or help you focus on what you can do versus what you can’t.

Coaches have a different focus than therapists. Therapists are there to help you figure out and address the root of any issues that are keeping you from moving forward; coaches are here to help you run with the ball. We are not trained in how to process trauma or reset your nervous system, and we’re definitely not trained to deal with any situations that might require medication or hospitalization. We know a lot of stuff and can point you in the right direction to get the help you need, but good coaches know their limits and practice ethically.

Talking isn’t Everything

Maybe you’ve been to a therapist and feel like you’re just rehashing the same old stories, or digging for trauma that isn’t there. Therapists are great, and necessary, if you have mental health issues that need that need to be addressed or if you have not processed important events in your life. Sometimes, though, we don’t need to talk about the same old stuff. Often we need to get to a new head space or to work with the energy of a situation in modalities. Sound therapy, reiki, journaling, or visual narrative with tarot or oracle cards can help in ways that just talking can’t.

I especially love working with oracle decks since they’re a great way to bring questions and concerns into a more playful, metaphorical arena. It’s like looking in a mirror without thinking you look fat or that your hair is awful. We can see things and play around with possibilities. Even better, the cards can serve as inspiration and visual reminders of what we want more of in our lives.

Changing Limiting Beliefs

As a life coach, I create the sacred space for you to view yourself from a place of love and objectivity. I give you the tools to change your perspective on how you think about yourself and others. Often, we hold ourselves back by limiting beliefs we don’t even know we have. And sometimes they’re not even ours, just ones we’ve had passed down to us by other people! I can help you dig these out and dispel them.

I help you pick apart the areas of your life where you are less than satisfied, air out places which are stale and unexamined, and help lead you toward the inner knowledge of who you really are. I do this by listening, asking questions, and giving you ways of working with your thoughts and problems so that you feel more excited about your life. Sometimes the changes are small, sometimes they’re amazing. Even small progress can be life-changing.

Getting Unstuck

Sometimes you just feel like you’re not going anywhere in your life or that you can’t get past a certain obstacle You’re “stuck,” and you don’t know why or how. Or, you know what you need to do but it just seems too hard to do it. Yes, you can figure out some stuff by yourself, and you’ve read a gerbil lion self-help books. But where has that gotten you? Do you need someone to call you out on your own shit, or help you figure out why you’re not doing what you said you were going to do?

Even if you’re not feeling massively thwarted, often we have a sense that our lives could be better. It can feel like there’s a future version of us that we’re meant to be if we could just figure out how to get from here to there. Life gets in the way of finding our best selves and we live with a low-grade feeling of dissatisfaction. We don’t make ourselves a priority, we don’t have tools for self-examination, we don’t hold ourselves accountable, or we’re stuck in ways of thinking that we can’t unbind ourselves from.

You need accountability and support, a trail guide with endless optimism and yummy trail mix (dark chocolate is a must). Solving problems and taking small but difficult steps is a lot easier hen you have someone on your side who’s there to keep you company and make the process less arduous (or even fun!).

Optimizing Your Life

If your car isn’t working optimally, you go to the mechanic. If you’re feeling sluggish, you go the doctor and maybe get some vitamins prescribed. There’s no reason to settle for “meh” in your life when you can work with someone who will help you improve it. And, the best thing is that I can teach you tools so you can do it for yourself. 

You can work with a life coach on an ongoing basis or just short-term to work through a specific issue. Often when we’re trying to fix an area of our life, we’ve tossed around and around all the information and thoughts in our heads that it’s hard for us come to the issue with a fresh perspective. We have a tendency to be paralyzed by our own resistance or forget what’s worked for us in the past. When I worked with a coach once, they suggested that I do exactly the same kind of thing I did in a similar situation previously. Who knew?

Coaching is an Investment in Yourself

Many of us will go to a spa or get a massage to indulge our bodies, but what about our minds and spirit? It’s well worth investing a little time and money into revitalizing them, too.  Working with someone even just occasionally can refresh and renew you. As a coach, I’m here to support and uplift you, not just kick your ass.

You probably buy yourself treats now and then like coffees or books, or clothes; but do these really change your life? Sometimes it’s worth splurging on yourself in a way that will give you a longer term payback. There are many different ways and price points of working, and I’m happy to figure out something that works for you. You’re worth it!

The Fool

The Fool is the first card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot, often depicted as a goofy, innocent youth about to step off a cliff. He represents the hero in the Hero's Journey, which psychologist and mythologist Carl Jung came up with to describe the common path from beginning to end that you see in stories and movies and in your own life.The fool represents innocence, the energy of youth, lack of baggage, and starting out fresh.

Different cards show the Fool differently, and looking at various fool cards  is a good way to explore what starting out means to you. Playing around with the fool card is also a way to connect to the more positive aspects of a new journey - because, frankly, sometimes starting a new journey sucks and scares the living crap out of you. Meditating on the positive aspects of  The Fool card is a good way to change our perspective,  get off our butts , and jump off that cliff.

From top clockwise, in the picture to the left, we have The Fool from The Tarot of the Hidden Realm, The Wild Unknown, The Wildwood Tarot, and The Modern Spellcaster. Each one gives us a different impression of the card and a totally different feeling.

The top fool doesn't even realize he's on a journey; he's just pursuing his joy. The chick strips away the focus on action and reminds us of pure potential. The fool at the bottom at least seems to be following a path, whereas the one on the left is a little more traditional in its depiction of the cliff, the jester-like character, and the hobo bag held over his shoulder. 

It's interesting to look at various versions of the same card and see what strikes you, or what rubs you the wrong way.

The fool also reminds us that we don't know everything, and that sometimes it's worth taking the time to ask the right questions before we set out. It's common when first experimenting with the tarot that people will ask questions like "Will I marry the man of my dreams," or "Will I get the job I just applied for?" But any good tarot reader will ask you that to get the right answer, you need to ask the right question. And the right question will always give you the most power in achieving your best life and an actionable series of steps to take--unlike questions demanding a simple yes or no.

As the consummate fool, instead of asking questions out of fear or attachment, ask them out of curiosity. Ask questions such as "What can I do to attract someone who will be my best mate?" or "How can I find a job that will make me feel satisfied and fulfilled?" Look at the horizon, look at your feet, and be ready to step ahead with an open mind and heart. Then you'll get somewhere.

Tarot for Life Coaching

If you're not familiar with the tarot, you might only be dimly aware of it as a sort of "woo-woo" thing that people use for fortune telling. The history of Tarot has been truly interesting and weird -- it arguably started as a game in 14th century Europe, and has been passed down to us through several different groups of extremely intense metaphysical dudes who collected esoteric knowledge from various cultures ranging from the ancient egyptians to jewish mystics.

The cards are divided into two groups -- the major arcana, which consist of the overarching archetypes of the Hero's Journey, and the minor arcana, which describe the different kinds of situations and experiences one will experience in life.There's no need to feel overwhelmed though -- there's a deck for everyone, with approachable themes from fairies to cats to trees. Some people prefer decks that don't have any people on them, and others like having people but prefer decks that show a range of races, body shapes, and genders. You can find many decks available as apps for your mobile phone now, which allows you to experiment with a deck for only a few bucks.

Basically, you want to pick a deck that you connect with, that makes you eager to use it, and that will let you interpret the cards intuitively. You don't want a deck that confuses you and makes you feel like you need to read the book. If you can pick a card and think "hey, this reminds me of...," or "this makes me feel..." then you've probably got a good deck. My favorites at the moment are the Wild Unknown, The Tarot of the Hidden Realm, and the Tarot of Trees.Once you've picked your deck, you can decide how you're comfortable using it.

You don't need to believe that the universe is speaking to you or that it's possible to tell the future. By sheer virtue of their commonality, each of the 78 cards will have something to say to you at whatever time you pick them. You can view them as doorways to things you probably already knew but hadn't been aware of -- when you pick cards and ask yourself what they mean, you're going to make new connections and give a voice to your own inner wisdom. You can also just pick cards deliberately and use them as journal prompts or a way to work with issues you might currently be having.We'll explore how to work with the deck in both a personal and coaching manner, as well as walk through the year using the archetypes of some of the major arcana. Hopefully during this journey you'll also get to see some of the different decks available, and maybe connect with a card or two. Have fun!


Maybe it's cliche, but we get excited at the beginning of the year because it's We get to start over, make resolutions, intend that somehow this year will be different than the last.But beginnings are hard, and if we're honest with ourselves most of the time we tend not to like them.

Why? because really-they're stressful, we're impatient, we don't know if anything's going to work, and that voice of the inner critic turns into a combination of the Three Tenors and Every Asshole You Ever Knew, just because it knows you're hesitant. This is not conducive to keeping those New Years goals.

So how can we navigate the beginning part of the year with grace? How can we help ourselves reach our goals?In spiritual and meditation circles, there's a concept called "Beginner's Mind." This means staying in that place of newness with humility and freedom - being present with the open space of that first step, not anticipating the next step or keeling over with your own baggage. As I'll discuss in the next posts about the Tarot, and especially the first card, The Fool, life is a sequence of small and large Hero's Journeys.

The best thing you can do is be kind to and present with yourself on each step of the way. This is often where a life coach can come in, because sometimes it's hard to shut up the voice that says unhelpful things with overwhelming clarity like "I suck!"

This month will be all about beginner's mind. What does "beginning" mean to you, and how do you usually think about it or sabotage yourself when you're starting out with something? Looking at a few different Fool cards can help you put this into words -- we'll do this after a basic introduction to using tarot cards for self-development. For now, Good luck!