Cassandra Snow

Compassionate. Practical. Radical.

My Water Altar! (Plus How to Build Your Own!)

Creating an Elemental Altar

 

I work very well with altars. I have one to Hecate and my ancestors. I have an ongoing prosperity spell that has become it's own altar. My living room windowsill collects more and more things to and from Hestia. Then the other night, I was re-reading the blog I penned shortly after my birthday and checking in with myself about how I was feeling on the whole “leaning into my emotions” thing when it hit me: I need a Water altar. I am a Pisces babe through and through, even when I suppress it. Which means that in times when I'm trying to heal and push myself to allow my own watery tendencies to heal me, I needed an altar to work with to push me on my way. I decided to build my Water Altar for two reasons:
 

  1. To have a daily visual, spiritual reminder to honor my truest, most watery self every day.

  2. To have an altar paying respect to the spiritual entities that come from or frequently work with water.

I'm so happy with how my altar is looking already that I thought I'd share how to curate appropriate objects and build your own elemental altar. Whether you need to build an altar to your own sign's element, to an element who's energy you're lacking, or if you need a specific element's help for a specific spell or ritual, this should help. Here's what I put on mine:

  1. A tarot card! Obviously the first thing I rifled through to serve as the base of my water altar was the tarot deck I use for spellwork. I pulled out the Ace of Cups. The Ace of the corresponding suit is ideal; a Court card or any you strongly connect with would also work.

  2. Objects organically and responsibly given from that element. Examples would be feathers or leaves for Air. Stones and twigs work great for Earth. Matches or charcoal would work splendidly for Fire. In the case of Water, I used Lake Superior Agate that I pulled in real life, nautilus shells friends have given me over the years, a starfish I received as part of a gift basket once, and some seashells I picked up on an L.A. Beach. I do have two hard and fast rules for this part of building any altar, but especially one to an element. Number One: I don't take from anywhere with a sign posted saying I can't. Number Two: I have to ask a Spiritual Entity for permission (and receive that permission), even if it feels like something is screaming for me to take it. Gifted objects also work great for this part though, so if you are someone who doesn't take from nature at all, that's a perfectly reasonable way to add such objects.

  3. A touch of whimsy! I have a glass whale I've had forever that looks so cute sitting at the head of the water altar. I have a sea turtle that I'm sussing out if it belongs there are not. Relevant charms from a charm casting set or charm jewelry set also work. Toys, poems, song lyrics you wrote down—anything that adds a touch of whimsy and lightness will make those elemental energies very happy and eager to collaborate with you.

  4. Anything else that speaks to you. My black moonstone was screaming to go on the altar, and my quartz pendulum seemed pretty happy too. This altar wants NO fire as of now, so I left off candles. This is a purely intuitive side of the work, and a crucial one because of that.

  5. The actual element! A candle that you light daily for Fire, stones or a literal cup of dirt for Earth, incense or an ethically harvested bird skeleton for Air are great examples of this. I literally just made Moon Water in a mason jar and stuck it on my altar.

That's it! No need to overcomplicate it. Besides, I'm a firm believer in living altars, which means I'll still use that pendulum on the go sometimes and it goes with me that day. Other stones may wanted added, or the Black Moonstone may end up getting used a different way. Tokens and emblems I find at a beach or receive as a gift could end up getting added, or not. I let my altars grow or shrink and use what's there when I work with it. I'd love to see pictures of your own elemental altars—hit me up on social media to show off!

Blessed Be y'all!

On Lizzo, River Walks, and Gearing Up for April

The river is rushing, wildflowers are starting to bud, and my eyes won't stop watering. It must actually be full-on not-a-joke-this-time Spring! Normally autumn is MY season. Fall is when I come alive, when I feel my dieties working with me, and when I get excited about the year's transformations in my life. That's still very true—nothing like an October chill to reinvigorate me—but this Spring feels really fresh and exciting to me too. As we jump into warmer weather, here's how I spent my March when I wasn't here:

A beautiful Spring day driving past a beautiful spot in Minneapolis.

A beautiful Spring day driving past a beautiful spot in Minneapolis.

 

  • Tarot Stuff: As some of you reading have already discovered, I have picked up Sunday day time shifts at my beloved steady gig, The Eye of Horus! I'll be there from 11:30-6 on Sundays in addition to evenings on Wednesdays. In more mundane news, I've started using my Modern Spellcaster's deck in readings, and I've gotten into a lovely e-mail reading groove with a few of you too! You can find out more about my e-mail readings here.

  • Writing Round-Up! I did a major big kid writer thing this month—I applied to not one but TWO emerging writer's grants to finish a manuscript for a memoir about finding laughter in traumatic circumstances. There's also some Queering the Tarot action here and here, and a profile I got to capture on a poet I just adore here. I'm also working on a second e-book for y'all. This one is a little more substantial but I hope to finish up this month. You can grab my first, a mini e-book about using tarot for healing here.

  • Theatre (and beyond): Oh, you know, just performed improv and front of people for the first time, thus finishing my improv class with a bang. Plus a Drunk Queer History my company organized, a mainstage show I directed, and I dunno, something about us getting a grant for our summer one-act festival. Keep up to date by signing up for Gadfly's mailing list!

  • Life Outside of Work! (That's a thing, sort of?): I managed to have a really spectacular month in spite of having three careers, two of which required grants due and one which I produced multiple major events. Most notably, I ended the month at a Lizzo concert with three of my very best friends, brought to tears at a hip-hop show for (I think) the first time. The show has me mulling over self-love and what loving your body truly means. I adore my mind, and I'm a genuinely kind, sweet person and love that deeply about myself. I'm also incredibly fun. Yet for all of my body and fat positiviy and attraction to women and genderqueer people of ALL sizes actually loving my body the way Lizzo raps about is so hard for me. She has completely re-inspired me to take on self- love exercises to help me get there though

    • Favorite things I read: I started the month by breezing through Neil Gaiman's accessible, fun take on Norse Mythology. I got super sucked in to Murakami's weird world again with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I devoured Fisher's Princess Diarist and Mara Wilson's Where Am I Now in approximately a day and a half each. That's a lot, I know but it was a really good book month!

    • Favorite Things I Watched: I went to see King Lear at the Guthrie, not for research or review but just to go. This was the first time I'd gotten to do something like that in a very, very long time and the show was wonderful. The eye gouging piece of the play was SO well executed, and the rest of the show was pretty great too. Alternatively, Manny and I also binged Season 1 of Supergirl in about a week. I am completely obsessed and dying to get my hands on Season 2 even though it's still happening. I saw Get Out in the movie theater and OH. MY. GOD. Even with all the rave reviews I was surprised by how good it was, because it's that good. I don't even like scary movies but I'm raving about this one still. As just a guilty pleasure thing, I've also been watching Trial and Error on NBC. I love John Lithgow and this one is really silly and fun.

    • Other Things I Loved: Manny and I have spent several afternoons or evenings walking along the Mississippi River just chatting about ourselves, art, and the river itself. I'm so overjoyed that we're back in “hanging out near water” season and these escapes have helped my mental health so, so much. Now that it's warming up, if you're physically capable and live near a large body of water—go! What are you doing reading the internet right now?!

One more view of the river before we head out for today!

One more view of the river before we head out for today!

That's it for me and my theatreific, booktastic, Supergirl-swamped March! Please tweet or Facebook me about your own adventures!

Blessed Be, y'all!

Theatre + Internet = My Entire March So Far!

Hello all!

I've been on a bit of an accidental blogging hiatus lately--tech week last week really took it out of me, and the only breaks I had were spent tiredly staring at my computer catching up on Autostraddle and other faves (and watching Penny Dreadful. I'm so in love with Eva Green.)

The good news is twofold! One) And Then They Fell by Tira Palmquist is up, running, and wonderful so far. You can grab your tickets here! Two) THIS IS THE MOTHER OF ALL LINK ROUND-UPS. SO much internet the past few weeks, y'all. Get ready.

Just Because: My friend Anne says smart things about women, theatres, and museums here. ~I love reading about Diane Arbus, and this article goes pretty deep. ~8 Female Surrealists Who Aren't Frida Kahlo ~ Sometimes I forget PostSecret exists, and remembering is always the best present to myself. ~ Nerdy fan theories about Steven Universe ~ A really in-depth piece about the soundtrack to My So-Called Life. It's worth the length, I promise. ~ A very cute, informative comic about puppy play (NSFW!) ~ I fell pretty deep into this article about Kudzu. ~ Women who changed science forever ~ Some stuff about Pluto as a planet (or not) ~ Daria turned 20 Y'all. ~ Sex ed falls short sometimes ~

How to Life Better: Something every chronically ill, anxious, or exhausted person needs: an At the Very Least List ~ Being Relatable Online ~ Some solid sales advice ~ I love Seth Godin. A lot. ~ Making a perfect speech ~ Please don't cancel ~Some deeper self-care options ~ Wasting money on your business? Whoops. ~ Someone in your life toxic? The solution might be waaay different than you think. ~ I love this!

Notes for the Intersectional Queer Feminist Revolution: Sex Workers and Activism <3 ~The Trash Heap Has Spoken is one of my favorite things I've read in probably a couple of years. ~ A photo essay of femmes and genderqueer POC. It's SO good. ~ Africa's First Female President! ~ On Britain and queer immigrants ~ Decolonize Your Science Reading List (so much added to my "to read" list!) ~ An interesting read on being gay in Colonial America ~ Raising a trans child in Texas ~ Unprecedented change requires unprecendeted self-love. ~ Teen Vogue, Moonlight, and Queer Black Men ~ ~ A tech boost if you need help with an eating disorder ~ Making peace with food (even when you hate your body) ~ Eight Native Women That Are Badass (a paraphrased title) ~ Jeanna Kadlec's Must-Read on Allyship ~ Sexism and Sickness ~ Keep having those hard convos in small towns, y'all. It's working. ~

Tarot, Witchcraft, Etc.: When Spirituality Sucks ~ The Tarot Lady gets so beautifully personal here ~ I LOVE this series at Briana Saussy's site and this one really made me dig deeper into The Emperor. ~ Anarchy, Feminism, and Goddess Energy with the writer of one of my very favorite books ~ So, um, Venus is in retrograde for a bit yet. ~ More on Venus moving backwards here ~ You should be following this short, easy but rad tarot series ~

Theatre Nerdery: Gender Parity in Theatre (An Overview) ~ Don't Write Checks You Can't Cash ~ Moonlight got it's start on the stage, and this piece about that is wonderful. ~Eleven Tropes I (and Bitter Gertrude) Could Not Be More Over

 

That's all, y'all! Blessed be!

International Women's Day, A Strike, and a Reason to Celebrate!

Today is International Women's Day, a day from their own site for "celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity." That's rad! And while there is a little bit of controversy around the day--everything from white washing to getting a capitalist slant that are all completely valid perspectives, I still choose to celebrate women today. For me this means celebrating and uplifting the voices of:

  • Queer women
  • Women of color
  • Sex workers
  • Women who have to work in spite of a national call for striking
  • Poor women
  • Women who start businesses
  • Women who run businesses
  • Women who stay home and take care of kids
  • Women who work tirelessly to make ends meet
  • Women who tell stories
  • Women who listen to stories
  • Women who don't believe in the need for today
  • Self-made millionaire women
  • Women who run parts of the world
  • ...and myself

You see, I didn't always believe in existence as a form of resistance. I just happened to show up on this Earth, and activism was my duty and my role to make it better. I've fought tirelessly--endless conversations with now allies (and a few ex-friends), marches, campaigns, art. It never felt like enough though. I never felt like enough. I still, to be honest, do not feel like enough some days.

But I'm learning to live in my reality, to stand up and declare that I'm here and let that be enough for some days. Because I'm sick. And I'm tired. I have been sexually assaulted multiple times. I have been literally stalked. I had a ROUGH upbringing and an even rougher start to adulthood. Yet I'm here. I have stood at the gates of hell and insisted on coming through, sure there was more at the other end. And I was right. And that, is reason enough to celebrate today.

We have all stood at the gates of hell and insisted on coming through, sure there was more at the other end. And we were right. Remember that today as we plow through facing a world that wants us to be quiet and in our place, a world that wants to attack us, blame us, and forget us, a world that wants eat us alive. We have pushed through and we have gotten somewhere beautiful. So strike if you can, work if you can't, and spend some time laughing, learning, and celebrating with the strong, badass women in your life.

Happy International Women's Day, to all of you.

Blessed be.

Spring is Here--Sort of? Maybe? But March Definitely is!

While February is hands down my favorite month, I am elated every time March hits as well. My oldest younger sister was born in March, the mainstage work I do for Gadfly Theatre is usually in March, and while I like winter, the seasons changing in general tends to help me hit a reset button. Granted, this year the latter hasn't been quite the steady rise I had hoped, but everything else stands!

 

February was wonderful, busy and hectic, but wonderful. I'm still in the middle of putting together a mainstage show about queer homeless youth and victims of sexual abuse. It was my birthday month which took me out for Mexican food and my favorite drag show with so many of my favorite people. That Pisces energy is hitting me pretty hard though, especially in light of the New Moon and eclipse and everything else. My PTSD is having some issues, but I'm also working through some emotions positively too. I'm a lot more in touch with my sensitive Pisces soul than I have been in a long time. I don't feel the need to play tough anymore, and I'm ready for real again--real feelings, real relationships, real, deep love of all types. I find myself welling up out of joy and gratitude AND fear and sadness at least a few times a day, but I'm letting myself have and experience that even though I've been trying to shove it down for the past couple of years.

Other things I've been up too:

  • Tarot Stuff: I've got this really short but powerful mini e-book for sale. It hasn't quite gotten the attention I'd hoped for, but everyone who has snagged one has loved it--so maybe you want to be one of those people? I'm still down at Eye of Horus on Wednesdays, and come April I'll be picking up Sundays too! After letting a good friend crash with us for a few months because of some work hubbub, I have my at home tarot studio back! I also got to read for some of the absolute cutest, sweetest people this month, saw a small boom in my e-mail business, and am talking to a few potential students for my newly revamped coaching package. See my services page to grab your own slot in any of that! I also had new headshots taken! Wheee!
  • Writing Round-Up! I really love some of what I did on the blog this month--plus the aforementioned e-book. My favorites beyond that are here and here. Additionally, some Queering the Tarot goodness--the Ten of Wands and Knight of Wands on different sites showed up, as usual. I also got to highlight one of my very favorite artists and get more insight from what drives her. I also got to research, write, and explore the beginning and growth of ball culture in the U.S. for Gadfly's latest Drunk Queer History. Even though a drunk storyteller doesn't quite get word perfect, I was really pleased with how it came out.
  • Theatre (and beyond): In addition to the hinted at work above with Gadfly (see our site for more), I'm in a WTF improv class at Huge Theater right now. I was absolutely terrified and super caught up in "OH MY GODS WHAT AM I DOING?" But I wanted a foundation to improve my storytelling, the quick one-minute play style of theater I love doing so much, and even just to learn some new tricks as an instructor and director. All of that happened and is happening, but I, um, think I've been bitten by this improv bug I was warned about...
  • Life Outside of Work! (That's a thing, sort of?): Because this has been a pretty emotional month, I'm a little all over the place in terms of goals like "reading a book a week" and doing things like squad hangs, but I had a few fun adventures. My birthday party at Lush was one of the most fun nights I've had in months, and I'm so grateful for the people in my life and that Lush like, exists and does such wonderful LGBTQ+ nightlife.
    • Favorite things I readTell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica by Zora Neale Hurston has lots of rich myth and culture about the oft misaligned voodoo. It reads as easily as any of her other work too. I also devoured Octavia's Brood, a speculative fiction collection inspired by Octavia Butler, mostly writers from marginalized communities. 
    • Favorite Things I Watched: Moonlight winning the Oscar for Best Picture was SO SO important to me. And that's the part I choose to focus on. Swiss Army Man was even weirder than I anticipated. I loved it.
    • Other Things I Loved: My hair went even bolder in it's purple, blue, and teal glory this time and I loooove it. Two of my best friends are obsessed with these tiny hands and overly large hands and any time they get broken out to play it's a good time. I finally tried Glam Doll NE thanks to some birthday fun, and they have some unique to that branch flavors and this ridiculous couch (pictured below) that I'm in love with. My brother sent me this deck for my birthday. It's stunning. I also worked some pretty hardcore magick this month (hence the first photo).

I have big goals for March: one event is down, but I have And Then They Fell opening. I want to get a second e-book, this one a little more substantial up. I have a couple of new regular series that will hit. And I'm determined to make it to a few shows I'm not directly involved with, in spite of the time crunch. And I can't wait to officially add a few decks to my repertoire, mostly this week or next: the Fairy Lights, Modern Spellcaster's, and eventually the Slow Holler (right now I feel really personally connected to the deck and using it elsewhere feels weird, but I do know it well enough by now), to be specific. I'm also pretty interested in a web overhaul but not promising that within the month.

Until then, blessed be! Feel free to share your own adventures. Love y'all.

Tiny Bursts of Bliss + A Whole Lotta Internet Love

What's up, witches?

Today what's taking up a lot of space in my brain amidst all the infuriated screaming and desires to "burn it all down" even if I'm not sure what "it" is is this: how important for centering yourself finding those moments that 99% of us do have in the day that are pure bliss and totally take us out of the otherwise agitated state we all live in right now. It can feel really selfish to incorporate things that make us so happy into our lives, but it's not, at all. For starters, what the hell are we even fighting for if we jump ahead of our oppressors in shoving our own happiness away? Second of all, nothing has made me feel as calm, centered, and ready to fight as the moments of contentedness and true happiness I'm able to steal away.

Earlier this week I had an awful stomach virus and my queerplatonic partner honestly took such ridiculously good care of me. I somehow felt so pampered and loved as I couldn't even keep water down. There were moments even then that I felt "oh, man, this is really, really what love looks like. It looks overwhelmingly like ginger beer and ritz crackers and so many hours of Friends reruns and picking up refills of Zofran, and it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." When the bug cleared I had the clarity and motivation to get lots of good tarot, writing, and stuff around the house done.

Example two: I have felt so scattered lately. I can't focus for more than a few moments here and there to save my life. I'm so angry about Standing Rock and trans kids not being able to use the right restrooms and 900,000 other things, and it's easy to spiral into a place of "nothing I can do from here matters anyway." In my little microcosm, I have about 75 things that really need done EVERY DAY and that's really overwhelming when you're coming off of sickness AND super invested in turning this sinking ship around somehow. Somehow I ended up curled up in a ball in my favorite oversized chair, a luxury I never knew I needed until I got one, with my window open. A really beautiful, cleansing breeze was blowing through and my giant orange cat (my absolute favorite breed, though I love my long haired brown babby just as much) was purring beside me and all of a sudden I thought "holy hell, this is a really beautiful moment." I was so happy for a few minutes, and when I came out of it and back to reality, I was able to steadily make deadlines for often important work all day. Those moments matter. They matter as much as a good night's sleep and drinking plenty of fluids for fighting this nonsense, and they matter for your own life.

Also I had some new headshots and stuff taken and some of them are pretty cute if I do say so myself! Done by Lauren Erchul in Minneapolis.

Now here's a really terrible segue into some rad stuff OTHER people wrote that piqued my interests this month:

From the "I just had a birthday, you know" gimme-gimme files.

Tarot Spreads and Other Such Treats: Stuff I should probably actually do/ A spread for making tough decisions/

A thing my non-queer-lady roommate probably wishes I hadn't found.

Theatre nerdery: I already posted the Angels in America oral history that I'm in love with, and a friend was kind enough to send me this one of Rent. I've been an unabashed Rent-head my entire adult life but even I found out some new stuff!/Why arts funders must protect marginalized communities (and how they can)/A hard but important read on arts funding and where it's going. TL;DR: support your local small peeps (hint, hint)

Birthday goodies: Seven questions to ask for your birthday every year. Really lovely, important self-care to treat yourself with every year!

Notes for the Revolution: Acts of rebellion you're probably already doing (but please do big things too!)/A REALLY important piece about institutional racism and how calling your city a Sanctuary City is really, really not enough/An examination of how using trans inclusion as a marketing scheme is actually not that great (shocking I know)/Why White America Demonizes Black Lives Matter/A beautiful conversation about Sandra Bland/Language matters--here's how to replace accidentally transphobic language./On reclaiming queer historical space/How to prep for a protest, and what to do if things do go south.

Writers on Writing: Unironically one of my favorite topics. Here Alex Franzen encourages us to tell our stories even when we feel we can't./An oldie but goodie: a Brand quiz to see how you should be focusing your business or freelance work

RadQueer Witch Stuff: I'm so blessed to have friends like J.Ryan who broach topics even I'm afraid to take on sometimes. This one is on the damage well-intending Pagans can cause to queer (and other) marginalized people/Not queer, definitelyprogressive: how things have changed for tarot readers in this political climate/The best spell collection I have ever seen/On being a witch in Trump's America

General Witch Stuff: Some of my favorite Chani Nicholas to date/A simple, sweet luggage spell for safe travel/Healing magick from a witch who's work is always on point

Just Because: I geek out about new life forms being found, and this one has a huge crystal bonus!/NOT A DRILL: Ancient Egyptian texts being translated in English for first time. I'm beside myself./Queer Appalachian art and literature (plus how to help!)/Some amazing work by queer women of color, for queer women of color

Mental Health and All That Jazz: Phone anxiety? Me too. This has some good insights./Apparently some trauma survivors MAY cope by overworking (looks around guiltily, hides under rock.)

Where I've Been: I've gotten some good stuff on this blog this month. My favorite is here + nab my mini e-book on Tarot for Healing here. I've covered some of my favorite artists over here (plus more on the way yet this month!) AND one of my favorites put me in her Tea Time Reading this month!

OH AND ONE MORE THING: IT'S COMING!!!

Blessed be y'all!

Tarot for Healing: An E-Book by ME!

Hello all!

I am involved in a really wonderful, beautiful project to benefit a crucial and timely organization. For it, I wrote a mini e-book (about 8 pages) about Tarot for Healing. It's three spreads, plus some pretty significant backstory about how I came to tarot. I'm really happy with it, and while I wait for the big project to unveil decided to make it available for $10--and because my heart really was in a giving place when I wrote it, 25% of all funds received ($2.50 per e-book) is going to be donated to Standing Rock.

*Deck featured is the Tangled Roots Oracle by Leora Effinger-Weintraub.

*Deck featured is the Tangled Roots Oracle by Leora Effinger-Weintraub.

How to Know if This is the E-Book for You
I did write this publication with individual trauma and grief in mind, but my life dealing with chronic illness filtered in too. If you have experience or concerns in any of those areas, OR if you have clients, friends, or partners you're always trying to better your readings for, this is definitely, definitely for you. It's also a great book for beginner and intermediate tarot readers looking for some different spreads and thoughts about what tarot can do.

Included in this Mini (but mighty) E-Book

  • My own backstory about tarot, trauma, and coming out of the closet and how they all correlate.
  • A spread for when you're still in the thick of a bad situation
  • A spread for processing grief, trauma, and even physical setbacks
  • A spread for when YOU are doing alright, but you're fave loved one? Not so much
  • Full color photos and sample readings of each spread

The Catch?
No catch! I will likely take sales of this product down once the major project launches, so you are on a bit of a vague but very real time crunch. Otherwise you'll get a (hopefully) lovely product by me and know that part of the money goes to support the water protectors at Standing Rock.

My technology is in a bit of a weird place, so we're going to use a streamlined by very old-school style of internet sales. To order this Tarot for Healing Mini E-book:

  • Send an email to snow.cassandra@gmail.com with the subject line "Tarot for Healing Order".
    • The body of the email should include your name, pronouns, and whether I have your permission to add you to my email newsletter or not.
    • The body of the email should also include how you plan to pay: PayPal, Venmo, and Square are your options. If you live in driving distance of NE Minneapolis, you may swing by my apartment building with cash during the weekday (except Tuesday) but that's not preferred. At all.
  • Once I send you my payment details via your preferred method, send your payment. You will receive your copy of the e-book within mere hours! (Give me a full day in case I'm slammed, but otherwise I can hit "attach" and "send" rather quickly.)
  • That's it! Enjoy! If you fall super in love with it and want to send a testimonial or review, please do. Otherwise, I leave you to the book's treasures.

Blessed be, y'all!

We Are All Fledglings Now

Some of this you've already seen if you follow me on Instagram, but as I continue on my path learning the Slow Holler tarot, and as things around us seemingly dissolve into Chaos, I am pulling the Fledgling much more than I ever pull the Fool, and much more than I did when I first got the deck.

First though, about the Slow Holler: this is a deeply spiritual tarot deck, rooted in Southern and queer identity, and I've truly relished my time getting to know it. It was collaboratively drawn and written by several different artists, and it takes me right back to my early days of tarot and witchery when there was this constant sense of spiritual power right underneath my feet. It's also deeply concerned and enlightening regarding two other things that have shaped the very core of who I am: trauma, and the fight for the collective. Grab your copy here. It's so, so worth it.

As this card starting coming up with unusual frequency for me, my initial thoughts were as such: the Fledgling is the Slow Holler's take on the classic Fool card, but a fledgling is not the same as a fool. They are both starting journeys, but whereas the Fool's optimism comes from a sense of naivety or a childlike fearlessness, the Fledgling's cautious optimism comes because they know that while now is a time for bravery, it doesn't mean you won't fail. It simply means you will find your feet again if you do and grow from there. The Fledgling does a lot more feeling for firm ground and a lot less running towards cliffs, but they still charge ahead into the unknown. The Fool is starting a journey and the Fledgling is starting something more. We don't know what yet. The Fledgling doesn't know what yet. But as the events of this week plunge us equally into determination and uncertainty, there is no clearer metaphor for the role of an activist right now. You will flounder, and you will not be sure, and you may lose. But you will regroup, and you will get your land legs back, and you will do great things again.

It feels like the lessons of the Fledgling were clear to me. Take chances. I am learning the lay of a new land, so be careful, but be brave. The card keeps coming up and keeps coming back to me though, and today as I pulled it even for my daily draw on my Instagram it finally hit me. The world at large is the priority right now, but it's not the only thing that exists. Our microcosms are still here, supporting us, loving us, empowering us. Yet in our daily lives, we still hold back. If there was ever a time to not though--this is it. What if instead of keeping your creative power tightly wrapped around your intellect you completely unfurled it and let it take over your current project? What if instead of finishing your routine to-do list you took two days a week to scrap it to work the big, scary projects instead? What if instead of keeping our heart so tightly in your chest you said "screw what everyone else thinks," ripped it out and let it bleed your power and love all over everyone you care about? We don't know what tomorrow's going to look like anymore--and maybe there's a lesson here in how we never really did. So why wait? Why hold back? Why sit and wonder and wish instead of doing? We are coming back from marches and meetings so on fire--use that. Use it. Use it. Use it.

The Fledgling wants us to be an activist, an advocate, an ally, to be as queer and brazen as we have it in us to be right now, but everyone I know is doing that. I have seen an outpour of collective action that I never anticipated, people who argued with me about marches inviting me to them now, and that's amazing. That's wonderful.  The Fledgling has more to say though, because this is a new world, and everything we know is upside down. Yet, for now, at least, life still goes on. What does it mean to work and create in this new world? And my god, can you imagine what love could be in this new world? The Fledgling is screaming at us to let go, let loose, right now, and find out. Because if we let go and spread these wings we think are so small, we just might find out how close we are to flying.

Blessed be.

In Which I Discuss Carrie Fisher, Geek Idolatry, and Dark Senses of Humor

There are a handful of people who I regularly quote and who's strength, endurance, vibrance, and stake in one or more of my big identity markers cause me to completely geek out and idolize them with an ecstatic frenzy usually reserved for coffee and my cats. Carrie Fisher was one such woman, those identity markers being "feminist" and "geek," and I can honestly say that this is the first celebrity death of the year to bring me to my knees. Maybe it's because of my level of idolatry. Maybe it's because in a year when Trump won, losing such a fierce woman who was also such an advocate for mental illness, and who is most often seen as a feminist character who fights a rebellion against a fascist regime seems extra harsh. Maybe I have just had my fill of this year and this latest blow has finally broken me.

In any case, I am devastated. Though in the Star Wars universe I have always seen myself more as a Han than a Leia, I have admired and idolized and wished I was as strong as Leia literally my entire life. She was one of my first clear ideas of what being a fierce, fighting femme in a man's world was like, and so much of my radical politic is shaped by the movement Leia is the heart and soul of. When I was eight years old Princess Leia made me realize that when things are wrong, you fight against them no matter what you lose in the process. I am not tough or brave enough to identify as a Princess Leia, and I certainly don't think I could ever do what General Organa goes on to do. That's okay--we all are who we are, and even if I don't feel up to her caliber of power, the end result is the same for me as it was for so many others: Fisher's portrayal of Leia Organa gave me a strength and a toughness and a bravery to strive for before I was old enough to understand the necessity of those traits, and before anyone could have predicted their relevance in our political climate.

But of course, Carrie Fisher is not just Princess Leia. Carrie Fisher is also the woman who wrote a couple of memoirs that featured her alcoholism and bipolar disorder--two struggles of my mom's that, at the time of my reading them, had driven quite a wedge between my mother and I. My mother is a spectacular person. She is the definition of living unconditional love and acceptance. She is kind to everyone and cares deeply about anyone who's ever entered her world. (She regularly asks how my childhood friends or their parents are doing, even though she hasn't heard from any of them in years and years). She has also been incredibly ill in ways that have wounded me deeply on and off throughout my whole life. When I read Fisher's memoirs, I saw my mom's humanity and struggle in a way that I could not have before, and I saw my mom not only as "very nice but very sick", but as strong and as a survivor of a terrible situation. I wouldn't call our relationship perfect or even repaired, but it's repairing, and I get it now. And I largely get it because of Fisher's openness about her own mental illness in a time when no one was being open about that, at all.

Then there's the parts of Carrie Fisher I do see myself in. My life hasn't been easy, and I don't see my survival as brave. It's just what happened. But I do give myself credit for developing this dark, lovely, weirdly whimsical sense of fun and humor somewhere along the way, and Carrie Fisher's interviews and memoirs that also made jokes about her disorder and struggles were a breath of fresh air when I was getting diagnosed and starting my early treatments for PTSD. She was also a good, fun person by all accounts, (like these for example), and didn't let anything she was going through slow her down. I hope everyone remembers that as much as they remember Leia's influence or even Fisher's feminism or writing and advocacy for mental illness. Because laughter is important, and she brought it everywhere she went, and even if we can never be the fighter Leia is or the advocate Fisher is, we can be the person who works to make people feel safe and happy no matter where we are. That's just as valid a a legacy, and one I hope doesn't get lost.

If you're having a lot of trouble coping with this and don't know what to do beyond "watch Star Wars and cry", I strongly suggest the aforementioned books, as well as this amazing, stupidly good comics series.

Blessed be, rebels.