Cassandra Snow

Magickal. Practical. Radical.

Cassandra Snow is a tarot card reader, writer, and theater artist professionally. This website is focused on her life in tarot, with substantial references to witchcraft, LGBTQ+ community, and chronic illness.

Filtering by Category: Personal Blogging

The Million Dollar Questions: Where Have I Been and Where Am I Now?


  Photo By Janet Nguyen Photography

Photo By Janet Nguyen Photography

Hello Dear Readers,

I promise this is not yet another blog post where I just rehash the trauma of my brain injury, because where I’ve been in 2018 is so much deeper and more nuanced than one injury (even if that injury did suck literally over half a year out of my life).

When I was blogging before, my monthly posts about everything I accomplished/did/learned (and because I believe in accountability and strength in vulnerability, everything I failed at, struggled with, and didn’t accomplish) where some of my most popular and shared pieces. As I start back up, I want to keep the same personal voice with higher quality material so here we are back at the beginning of the month and ready to roll with some updates.

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As a reminder OR as information for new readers, the reasons why I do these “month in review posts” are basically because:

  1. Even if people didn’t enjoy them, holding myself accountable for my health, my productivity, and my community is really important to me. Posting publicly what works and what doesn’t keeps me going strong.

  2. I get really overwhelmed and excited about all of the great things that exist in the world and I want to share the ones I’ve experienced with everyone and promote some great things.

  3. I absolutely love reading personal posts, listicles, and other writer’s monthly round-ups, and I figured if I love those things that much, maybe you do too. My numbers consistently showed that that was true too!

Since it’s been almost a year since I wrote last, I obviously won’t recap EVERYTHING. That would take forever, and without an intense look through my photos and social media and journal from the year I’m not sure I’d even remember them all. (Thanks, brain injury! #stillbitter)

Instead, here are some snippets from my year:

  • The biggest news of all: I finished my book! It’s coming out May 1st, 2019 and it is so queer and so personal and still (I hope!) such a great educational tool as you start or continue on your own tarot journey.

  • Little Red Tarot decided to archive, cutting short the series that led to the above book. I’ll be doing a Queering the Tarot article a month on my Patreon, which is open for wide release on Monday. I am at peace with this decision and the beauty of the site archiving on Samhain was not missed. I decided to take this as an opportunity to get back into doing things my own way for awhile, and see what exciting new opportunities that leads to this time. The archived Little Red site is here.

  • The Column has also decided to archive. I’m still struggling with that, in part because I fell absolutely in love with doing regular arts journalism and haven’t found a new outlet yet in spite of pitching and applying for a few spots. I trust my writing skills and my ability to manifest, and I have so, so much respect for my editor. The struggle is completely in “how to move on” and not any anger or frustration AT ALL. Andy Birkey worked so hard for so long and made this beautiful thing that I’ll never forget being a part of. My past arts journalism can still be found here as the website looks for their best archival options.

  • I’ve taught several tarot classes this year. Many Queering the Tarot, Tarot 101 for Creatives and Sex and Tarot as well as a Tarot for Spiritual Use and a handful of others. As a response to those classes, I’ve also got some unique workbooks and an E-Zine in my tarot shop on this website that you can check out.

  • Theatre mostly went on hold while I healed, and that’s legitimately okay. I still performed improv a few times, put together a Drunk Queer History or two, and put together an amazing Board of Directors for Gadfly. I also got a very generous grant for my dream show: [Working Title]: 60 Queer Plays in 90 Queer Minutes. That goes up in March and trust me when I say it is a freaking dream team of writers, cast, and crew so far.

  • I fulfilled a lifelong dream of performing stand-up comedy and I apparently was good at it? I was VERY bitten by that bug and while I haven’t done it since, one of my upcoming projects is to scope out other opportunities that feel safe and daring at the same time to perform at.

 Same adorable cat.

Same adorable cat.

In some ways, things haven’t changed that dramatically. This was a hard year in both my personal and my medical life, and the past two months have been very trying professionally. Yet I still wake up in the bed I love so much every morning, next to my cats who I adore, in the same apartment I fell in love with two years ago. My queerplatonic partner is still my person, and some of the same people who have ALWAYS held it down for me still do. I am still doing the things I love for a living, by some God’s grace. This was a year of good-bye and of death. It was a year of huge change and very dramatic scenes. It was also a year of rest and recuperation though. Most importantly, it was still a year of love, laughter, and at times, out and out silliness. I am grateful to my core, to the deepest part of myself for these things. I feel gratitude into my bones and oozing out of my pores. I haven’t felt this in a long time, and I hate what it took to get me here. I’m here now though.

 My book cover! So great!

My book cover! So great!

As I look forward:

I see my first book being released. I see my dream show going up. I see more time in this wonderful apartment with more of the people who make it and Minneapolis a home for me. I see a successful Patreon and while I don’t know where or what they will be, I do see more really great writing gigs in my future. I see some other more ambiguous ideas right now too: a podcast, more theatre, some vague ideas for adventures. I see such lovely clients and collaborators, especially at my steady gigs like the Eye of Horus, The Future, and Gadfly Theatre Productions. I’m eager to add to that roster too, but I can wait.

I’m also facing something really hard and scary in this Pagan year.

I don’t know when or if I’ll be ready to talk about it, but I will say that I have decided to seek treatment for vaginismus as well as any underlying causes for it. It’s really hard and scary and I have cried every day for the past two weeks as I wait for the right doctors to call me back. I’m keeping things close to the chest regarding writing or talking about it, at least currently. I live most of my life VERY out loud so that others will know they are not alone. I am not in a place to be of service regarding vaginismus right now though. I am not equipped practically or emotionally to answer questions or shoulder other people’s confessions. I don’t know if I could have admitted that before my brain injury. That injury has taught me so much about rest and focus on self. Maybe I’ll just need an outlet and it’ll be this blog after all. Maybe not.

In any case, that is another very important answer to the question of “Where Am I Now?” Because where I am IS hopeful, excited, and well-rested. I am also facing the realities of what happens when you have Avoidant Personality Disorder and a really painful, terrifying problem like vaginismus. Where I am is also petrified, wanting to run and hide, and kicking myself for letting my AvPD convince me to wait this long. I am so emotional about this. There’s not another way to put it. That is where I am though, and that is what I’ve been carrying as I work to build this blog and it’s readership back up.

I obviously don’t want to end on that note!

SO here’s some happier stuff that I’m super into at the moment:

Current Fave Tarot Deck: The Numinous Tarot

Currently Reading (and Loving): Calypso by David Sedaris

Currently Watching: The Good Place, Charmed, and How to Get Away With Murder most vehemently.

Current Fave Movies: The new Halloween which I LOVED and Colette which I can not and will not ever shut up about. To think I used to not like Kiera Knightley?! Honestly what was wrong with me?

Current Favorite Websites: Them is what I read most often. I also like this article about traveling while arthritic.

Current Favorite Recipe: This really easy cucumber salad: Chopped cucumbers, feta cheese (I dump like half of a crumbled brick in there but most people probably use about half of that), and Garlic Expressions salad dressing. Plus whatever else I have on hand. Handful of onions or a couple croutons or whatever is there that meshes. SO good, easy, and relatively cheap once you have a bottle of dressing on hand.

Current Music: Sparrow by Jump, Little Children (the whole dang album), and I still can’t stop with Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer or Brandi Carlile’s By The Way, I Forgive You.

Most Recent Adventure I’m Still Raving About: This place is so much better and weirder and creepier than I ever could have imagined. I promise.

Thank you all so much for being here and sharing this time and space with me. I’ve missed you all! Please feel free to comment below with what you are up to or what you’re most excited about post-Samhain/Halloween!

Blessed be, y’all!

Return of the Blog + A Radical Patreon Launch

Dearest Readers,

As you may know, I bonked my head pretty badly all the way back in January and had to put this blog, my work in theatre, and a number of other things on hold. As I’ve recovered, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the process of making art and writing and being a witch in the real world.

I’ve learned that sometimes your physical health has to come first. I know as much as I blog about mental and physical illness it may seem weird that I didn’t know that. I knew it on some intellectual level, but I was still running myself ragged and just adding time and energy consuming body-care tasks to my ever growing list of things to do. That’s not prioritizing your health. I get it now.

I’ve learned that I absolutely love theatre and that sometimes you need time to take a breathe and see a bunch of shows, read a lot of blogs, and think about your craft and what you want from it before you dive in and try to get all fiesty and creative.

I’ve learned that being a witch means it’s okay and even profound to learn to harness “darker energies” and to ask for selfish things (like personal healing from a traumatic brain injury or you know, whatever). I have always felt a call to dead people and underworld energies that I was so afraid to call my own. I’m not afraid anymore.

I’ve learned that I hate organizing anything that isn’t art. Like. Hate it. I want there to be voices and spaces for emerging tarot readers and witches, but I don’t need to kill myself to create that. I have lots to give and offer without taking on a role that no longer suits me (and perhaps never did).

I’ve learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to who is there for me and who isn’t. People I thought were my soul mate friends disappeared, and people I was on the fence about keeping in my life have come through in more ways than I could ever list here. I have no anger or bitterness in my heart for those that aren’t here now but I have learned to trust my gods that there will always be people in my corner, even if they aren’t the people I expected. I think that was supposed to be my lesson for literal years, but now it has finally hit home.

I think maybe I’ve actually learned how to prioritize. Which has unexpectedly helped everything from my work load to my eating disorder. This is never a perfect art though, so I really hope I don’t shoot myself in the foot by speaking to it!

I’ve learned that my lifestyle before this injury was completely unsustainable. I was working too, too much without ever really getting anything of value done. I was terrified of spending money to delegate out, in large part because I don’t have any. I was terrified to work less because what would I even DO? How would I even fill that time? I was terrified to go easy on myself because my identity is so wrapped up in “art, witch, Type A” that I was afraid of a total loss of identity. I needed to learn this maybe most of all. I was exhausted for literal years before this, even as I stuck to my guns on sleeping eight hours a night and drinking a whole lot of water. Honestly, even as I get back to myself, I still feel exhausted when I think about jumping into any semblance of my old life.

Which brings me to the point of this whole post. I’m starting a Patreon soon, and I’m really, really excited about it. It’s community style so even at the $1 level you will get full benefits. This will allow me to donate to causes I care about and people in my community who really need it. It will also allow me to work on the work I am best at and most passionate about. Hopefully I will soar past my first goal and be able to buy some decent recording and editing equipment so I can bring you podcasts and video content about tarot, the occult, art and my queer, chronically ill life as it pertains to all of the above.

As part of this Patreon, I am emphasizing my work to make tarot accessible-not only in content by exploring what the tarot has to say to marginalized people or others who have trouble relating to it, but even in price and the ability to learn easily and cheaply. That means a return to this blog in addition to Patron only writing. This blog and creating theatre work have been the two things I’ve missed the most this year. My theatre life is making a slow, scheduled return that I’m sure you’ll hear all about in coming months.

The blog I am thrilled to bring back as well. I’ve had almost whole year to dream up spells, funny stories, and tarot spreads and knowledge for you. I’ve had almost a whole year to miss you all so much and am so eager to come back.

Thank you so much for rejoining me on this journey. I will absolutely post when my Patreon goes live—and I’ll be posting pretty regularly from now on.

In the meantime, Blessed Be!

An Abbreviated Post-August Check In

Hello friends, witches & tarot lovers!

Mercury Retrograde has not been friendly to my apartment's electronic devices today so here's a quick update on where I've been AND an important September announcement!

 Also, here's an arbitrary picture of Sir Didymus and Sebastian. Just because. 

Also, here's an arbitrary picture of Sir Didymus and Sebastian. Just because. 

Tarot life brought me TWO amazing classes, one on "Queering the Tarot" at The Future and a BRAND NEW course on "Sex & Tarot" at none other than The Smitten Kitten. My big announcement? DO NOT DESPAIR if you missed the first "Sex & Tarot"--it's happening again THIS month on September 16th at The Future. Sign up here--my queering class filled up quite nicely and I don't want you to miss this one too. PLUS if that date DOES NOT work for you, I'll be teaching not one, not two, but THREE classes at my beloved Eye of Horus this fall & winter. One for 101 newbies, a Queering the Tarot, and a Sex & Tarot. Check it out! 

Theatre life was a lot of prep for this month & my December show. Nothing thrilling to report about the work I've already done, but uh, you're not gonna wanna miss Drunk Queer HIstory on the 26th. Grab your tickets NOW! 

Writer life was my safe space this month. I got to review and feature a lot of cool events here, and I'm still going strong over here. I'm sitting on some potential big news, and getting a lot of storytelling pieces done in my free time (so if you like stories about illegal boat hopping or lizard rectums, hit me up). 

 From Two Harbors, MN. Over Iona's Beach. 

From Two Harbors, MN. Over Iona's Beach. 

Non-work life took a hit for most of the month as a re-designed my Queering syllabus, created a Sex & Tarot syllabus, and stayed super, blissfully busy with tarot clients & behind the scenes theatre work. However, I insisted on taking my queerplatonic partner up to Duluth & Two Harbors MN last week and I am so unbelievably relieved to have ended such a busy month this way. We spent 2.5 days eating at some of our favorite restaurants, sitting on beaches, climbing up to cliffs and (literally) crying on said cliffs about how beautiful it all was. We also sipped tea until 3 AM with a darling college friend and got see Northern Lights Witch who gifted us a trip to Vikre Distillery for fancy cocktails.

I also spent a day earlier in August watching bad horror movies, eating Chinese food, and gifted one of my favorite people a fake llama head to decorate her wall with because birthdays are my favorite. 

That's it for me this month! Follow my multipassionate adventures in real time on my Instagram, or "like" my tarot page on Facebook for up to date info on where I'll be.

Blessed be, y'all!

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.

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.

 

 

 

Tangled Roots Oracle Gets AMAZING Update

Hello all! This post is so long overdue, and I'm happy to finally be sitting down and writing it. Some of you may remember back in April, I reviewed the first run of a friend's deck, and while I overall loved it (and it's the only Oracle deck I use regularly), I had some issues with one card--the Commitment card. To recap, the deck we're discussing is an incredible independent Oracle deck by Leora Effinger-Weintraub, called the Tangled Roots Oracle. The deck was created in the spirit of Leora's own spiritual tradition--the ecstatic tradition of the Upper Mississippi River Reclaiming community in Minnesota, USA., and while my own practice is incredibly eclectic, I responded very deeply to the deck's Earth based roots that still leave room for the very human experience of well, being human.

However, the original commitment card in the Tangled Oracle gave me cause for pause. While I myself am monogamous (mostly) and future-family minded, the rad queer in me had a lot of trouble accepting two wedding rings as a sign of commitment. I felt, and still feel, that that can be isolating for a lot of poly people, LGBTQ+ people, and even just Pagans who prefer handfasting or unique tradition to gold rings so often assumed to belong in heterosexual wedding scenarios, and in a deck so rooted in paganism and universality I felt it was particularly jarring.

Well, after hearing this feedback and taking some time to think about their own life and commitments, Leora updated their already spectacular Oracle deck, and this is the updated Commitment card:

When Leora's spouse handed me my copy of the updated card, something moved in me, very similar to the feeling most of the cards in this deck give me when I pull them, and I was thrilled when Leora had this to say about the update online: "The "Three Sisters" companion planting of corn, bean, and squash shows how multiple beings can grow together, supporting and nourishing each other. I honor all relationships: friendships, couples, open relationships, committed polyamory.... All the ways our commitment supports each other."

See, if you get readings from me, I am very likely to use gardening metaphors. Planting, harvesting, waiting, weeding, these are all crucial elements of most things in life, and this metaphor for all types of relationships struck the exact right chord. Furthermore, this card's very re-creation in this manner displays the themes at play in the card itself. In my critique, for example, I honored my commitment to honesty in relationships, and my commitment to my relationships as a result. In being so honest in my feedback, I displayed my commitment to better, more honest, more personal divination, as well as to Leora as a creator and friend who I knew could come up with something brilliant in lieu of the traditional wedding rings. In considering my feedback so heavily and creating such a card, Leora showed a commitment to their deck, our friendship, and their current art fans to keep pushing and creating things that represented the communities they're a part of. They showed a commitment to the Pagan community, the queer community, and the world at large to think outside the box.

With this update, this deck is a solid 10/10 for even skeptical Oracle deck users. The way the cards work together represent the Three Sisters plants growing in and of themself, and more than that, so many people are still living in the dark, terrified after last Tuesday. What better time to show your commitment to your friends, family, community--what better time to acknowledge that commitment isn't a one time gesture of generosity, but a lifetime of following that initial planting with maintenance and with cycles of death and rebirth and trust that no matter what happens, the things we've planted will grow again. This is a post I should've written a couple of months ago--but with everything that's happened recently, there is likely no better time to praise and honor the commitments my friends and I have made to each other. This card is breathtaking, and I hope everyone reading takes time to think about all the "Three Sisters" relationships in their life and how to use this card's lessons to honor and nurture them moving forward.

Again, you can check out Leora's deck here and grab your own. Thank you so much to the Effinger-Weintraub's and their commitment to our artsy, nerdy, Pagan friendship, and to Leora for creating such a beautiful deck.

Until next time, dear readers, Blessed be.

At Home Tarot Studio Is Open For Business!

Y'all. I am so excited. The QPP and I's last space that was just ours only had a tarot section of the living room due to space constraints, and I'm SO thrilled to have this room--I won't be able to use this extra room as a tarot studio forever, but that's a different announcement for a different time. In the immediate though, this beautiful apartment also comes with space for me to make magick, experiment with new decks and cards, and of course--read for clients and coach students. (My writing will probably still be done from my bed, if I'm being totally honest). Furthermore, my QPP is now fully qualified and taking Pay What You Can Reiki clients, and WE LEFT SO MUCH OPEN SPACE FOR ENERGY WORK which means the energy of the whole space is going to feel healing and vibrant in no time. Without further ado, LOOK AT THIS MAGICKAL ESCAPE:

 Uh, we maybe haven't figured out altars yet. Don't judge us for this messy one.

Uh, we maybe haven't figured out altars yet. Don't judge us for this messy one.

Here's a close-up of the corner I journal, read, learn, teach, and read cards in--it's right by the windows so we have the great views still. That table covering is a zodiac wheel that I got while visiting my family in Ohio. I love it. It changes depending on my mood though. Sometimes it's just black, green, or purple.

 

AND THE BOOKS. This is only about 2/3. I just discovered a box I was really confused about way back in the end of the apartment hall I don't go in a lot, and I am very generous with loaning my books out so long as I trust the people. A dear friend is dropping off a TON of mine back to me in the next couple of days. I might even have to move my decks, so we'll see! (They probably deserve their own small shelf anyway).

That's the gist of it for now, but I haven't done any photo-heavy posts since we moved. Once I have altars and everything ready to go I'll likely do another one. In the meantime,

Blessed be!

Light, Dark, and Discarded Pieces of Myself

For many pagans, this Thursday marks Mabon, a holiday to celebrate the changing seasons and welcome the second harvest. On this day, also called the Autumn Equinox, day and night are the same amount of time, so for many of us it's a chance to celebrate the necessity of both light and dark, and the joy that the balance of both brings.

This Mabon, I was struggling to figure out what my meditation and ritual should be. My usual celebrations just didn't feel right, and I have had the most confusing few weeks. Finally on a walk along the river, as I admired the leaves starting to turn, I cried out to my gods to cut through my scattered, sad thoughts, and slowly as I meandered it started coming to me. You see, for as long as I can remember, I've almost completely reinvented myself every few years. Often this was out of necessity--when you see the good in everyone, you often overlook the bad so I got my heart trampled on a lot. I've been taken advantage of a lot. And every time I got fed up, I just started over. New friend group, new clothing style, hair chopped off, big steps forward in my career. There were even a few dramatic location changes somewhere in there. In some areas of my life this has served me incredibly well. My multiple careers are streamlined enough to keep me motivated but relatively stable, and I am beyond in love with Minneapolis, my apartment, my cats, my blue and purple hair. Embracing the new--the new day, the new sun, the new light, has always created a multitude of blessings for me.

But with each new version of me, I killed off old parts of myself that I know I was meant to retain, each time losing another piece of my soul and my power until finally, I went through my current evolution--the one where my anxiety went through the roof and I didn't actually evolve so much as got really scared and meek. Of everything. Obviously none of that is working for me, at all and emotionally it has all been hitting a head I didn't understand. I have spent the last few weeks feeling so lost. I have a beautiful apartment, and so many other blessings and I thought when this many things would click into place I'd feel better. Less scared, less sad, less meek. Instead I've spent the last few weeks crying at the drop of a hat and staring off into space, completely unmotivated.

Then a college friend came to see me, and as we regaled my (amazing, not going anywhere) friends with stories of second college me, I felt completely overwhelmed and yet better than I have in months. It felt like I'd been wearing some costume that didn't quite fit and this college friend I haven't even seen in forever somehow made me see how silly I looked without even knowing what she was doing. While I was still reeling from this, I ran into an old rival from a couple of life cycles ago. She has moved on and is stable and content in her life, and was thrilled to see me. Catching up was surprisingly nice even as my stomach filled with butterflies for reasons I didn't understand. I eventually realized that I thought I'd been living in fear of running into her or other people from this phase, but really I've been afraid of running into the version of myself I was then. But I realized during our jovial conversation that this rival wasn't all bad then, and neither was I.

The old, the abandoned, the dark--these are the parts of myself I've kept hidden from all but a few. These are the parts I've kept hidden from myself in spite of glaring evidence that my sass, my cunning, my strength were needed. This Mabon I want to dance in my own darkness and feel it around me. I want to wear it like a shroud and when day breaks I want to keep wearing it still as the sun beats down on my face assuring me that these old versions of me aren't only harmless, but good for me. This Mabon, I want to return from the grey I've been living in and trying to convince myself that this is what light feels like. This Mabon, I want to renegotiate my concepts of light and dark entirely. This Mabon, I want my first spiritual connections to be with the versions of myself I killed off. I want them to know I'm sorry. I want them to come back. And I want the me that willed this apartment, my tarot business, my writing career into being, that fights for my theatre company's success every day, that keeps loving new friends and partners even when it's the scariest thing in the world, to know one thing: she's not going anywhere either.

No End of Month Wrap-Up for April

Hey All,

Just wanted to drop a quick note about the slight blogging hiatus. I've been really sluggish lately, and at first it was easy to chalk up to my depression, until I noticed I didn't feel depressed. I felt tired. Really, really tired. Then some other weird things happened, and long story short my thyroid is out of control right now. I love this blog, tarot, witchery, writing about it all--but I need the rest of this week and some of next to recover, and by then April will be long gone. Suffice it to say, things did turn around for me, and I love where things are headed.

You can read about queer tarot by me here and here. You can read some writing from a new friend I made here. You can support my tarot biz by ordering an email reading, making an appointment, or visiting me here. You can support my theatre biz by grabbing tickets to this, this, or marking your calendar for this.

Until next time, Blessed be.

Please send healing energy in the meantime! Much love to you all. Enjoy this gratuitous photo of my cat.

I Did A Bunch of Scary Stuff Lately

I live with pretty severe anxiety, and on top of that while I'm not super pro self-diagnosis, I'm almost positive I have Avoidant Personality Disorder. Some of the specific things I'm afraid of include (but are definitely not limited to): queer girls who are cooler than me, speaking in front of people, talking out loud about shit I've been through, asking for things, asking for money, dealing with conflict, receiving even the most well-intentioned critical feedback, and telling people out loud that I'm setting boundaries. So it might seem weird that I've chosen not one, but three career tracks (Renaissance Soul for life!) that rely heavily on engaging audiences or clients, asking for tangible support from theoretical supporters, and speaking my truth. I've managed to carve out comfort zones within that though: asking via internet, delegation when that can't be done, and setting firm boundaries and post-scary-thing self-care modules.

March and early April were rough for me for a lot of reasons, but truth be told I've been through much harder times in my life. After taking some time for self-reflection I think what wore me out SO much was how much I pushed my own boundaries, which is a good thing, but without taking extra time and effort for self-care, which is not. After realizing this, I'm really proud of some of the things I did: I directly engaged with queer girls who are WAY cooler than me. I maintained some substantial professional relationships that in the immediate rely on me asking for prolonged favors. A project failed and I had to look my collaborators in the eye and ask why. And ultimately I ended up on stage doing a story-telling feature about getting my period all over a nice restaurant in a nearby affluent suburb.

Some of the lessons I took away from this seem so basic. "Just do the scary thing" is obviously the biggest one, and I used to be a lot better about that. At some point I had enough professional colleagues or close friends to delegate scary things too and enough successes I could achieve without digging TOO deep that I really had ended up in a very comfortable place. This is such an achievement in and of itself for someone who doesn't trust people and is afraid of both fear and success in and of themselves, and it was important for me to get to that safe place to know that I COULD get to safe places in my life. But I know more than anybody that if we sit complacent for too long, we stop succeeding. So it was also important for me to get OUT of that safe place and into scary-land again. I didn't take the impetus myself, and the universe forced my hand, but it did remind me of how much more confidently I used to approach such things. Doing the things that terrify me never crushed me quite like it did this time, even when they failed, and sometimes the lesson we're meant to be learning are not new to us.

I also learned something kind of horrible: there's no easy answer to overcoming anxiety enough to succeed. There isn't. At some point my fear of continued failure became worse than my fear of talking to people, and that's what pushed me towards the scary stuff. I think getting to that point IS the point. There is no quick fix or easy answer for something that requires prolonged therapy and possibly medication. I'm not going to wake up tomorrow and feel like I fit in with hip lesbians or more successful WTFs. I'm not going to overcome my fear of criticism in a day, or by receiving positive feedback. I'm not going to conquer my all-consuming fear of failure simply by having it come true once and being okay. There aren't easy answers. Sometimes you just have to do the thing anyway. You have to reach as far inside of you as you can to summon enough strength to get through that hour, or evening, or even day. 

And know this: everyone is afraid, all the time. Nobody feels like they know what they're doing a majority of the time. Maybe that's depressing because that means dealing with fear doesn't get easier, but I choose to look at as comforting, because it means I'm not alone in my fears, ever. Yes, there are confident people, and yes, that sometimes includes me--but for me, my confidence is now coming from knowing that I am going to be okay no matter what, and knowing that the things I'm feeling are necessary for growth. It comes from knowing I am perfectly competent at the things I do, even if in the movement I'd rather disappear than do the scary thing. It comes from knowing I am loved, on the right life path, and usually have karma on my side--in other words, I do tons of spiritual work and am a good person well BEFORE I need to be confident in a moment. And, yes, as a part-Slytherin sometimes my confidence comes from knowing everyone around me is just as scared and there is no way all of our fears are justified.

And the thing I re-learned this time, with a vengeance, is that when you summon up the courage, or the energy to override ANY neuroatypical or trauma-based coding, you have to, have to, have to take care of yourself afterwards. After my story-telling feature two of my best friends took me out for a nice meal and a beer and listened to me just whine about how scary things were. It felt great. It also reminded me that after all of the other scary things I'd done in the previous three three weeks, I should've had a glass of wine, a hot tub, a good book, or even just a fucking pizza waiting for myself when I was done. Because taking care of yourself in the moment may be beyond your control, but if you nurture yourself before and after, you WILL keep doing the scary stuff, and it's not gonna drain you nearly as much.

I don't have all the answers. I'm just a queer, disabled solopreneur and artist trying to survive capitalism and help others do the same--but I think I'm starting to get a handle on keeping myself together, even when all I want to do is fall apart. I can say with certainty after this month that the scary things are worth doing--but you should definitely have a safe place to land in between.

Blessed be.

My Year of Movement, So Far

Every year I pick a word or idea to focus on to keep me going. This year I picked "movement" because man, I have some big goals and dreams and they are not gonna make themselves come true. It just really feels like it's time to be pushing myself towards the things I want, and up until the past couple of weeks that really felt like it was swimming along just fine. January was so much prep and planning and getting ready for all that a year of movement entailed that I really didn't have a lot of emotional investment in it. I had no clue how it would all shake out in real time, but I knew what my goals were and what I wanted to move towards and what the tangible steps involved were. I took a very even-keeled approach to the whole thing. I packed all my stuff in boxes and got ready for a February physical move. I threw out a bunch of old to make way for a bunch of new. I read up on graphic design for dummies (still so lost. Please point me to resources if you have them!), mediumship, and how to land a book deal. I saved a ton of money. I prayed a lot. I made lists and plans and wrote down my most ridiculous dreams, just in case.

Then February came. Time to physically, literally move and that went okay. It was exhausting but it got done. Also as a side note, I turned 31. Nothing keeps you marching in forward movement like time refusing to stand still for you. I don't know that I've written about the specifics of my move before, but essentially I (and my queerplatonic partner of course) were offered free housing in the house we dog-sit at sometimes for four months. Pretty decent amenities were involved too--a Jacuzzi every night is a pretty effective pain management technique, and I'm not gonna argue with free cable. I was immediately so relieved by this offer. Yes I'm dog and house sitting in exchange, but my life has been so hard financially since I was a kid, and it seems like every time I take a step forward I am forced two steps back. I took this offer as a sign that I was to spend this time to really grow my businesses and make them sustainable financially. With Gadfly my goal has always been to have a space where queer artists can thrive, make enough to keep it going and pay artists decently, and to make radical art in traditional mediums that elevate queer voices. I've been doing the latter for six years, but it's definitely time to hone in and focus on the first two, and I know not having to worry about making rent or bills for essentially five months (since you don't pay for your last month in a space usually) meant time to focus that energy in other areas. Additionally, my tarot, miscellaneous art, and writing pay my bills now, but that's about all they do. I work so incredibly hard, and I am so blessed to actually make my living doing only things I love and think are important while also making a flexible enough schedule to manage my chronic pain. But no life is perfect and truth be told there are months on end where I am scraping by with an occasional "good" month where I can do things like buy new bras and save for a vacation. This is the reality of solo entrepreneurship that a lot of people won't tell you, and I live in a mid-sized city with a huge artistic community and it's still really hard. It's worth it. Do not misunderstand. I am not cut out for early mornings and hours of busy work, and manage to have both avoidant personality and oppositional defiance disorders. I am not cut out to do only one thing with my life, or to only see my friends for one or two happy hours a week. Some people live so fully and happily in that life and that's great. Some people need the structure, the order, the safety and some people legitimately love crunching numbers and are willing to do it during regular business hours to do it and that's amazing because nothing I do is possible without those people. I am definitively not one of those people though, and I love my life. I love sitting on a friend's porch while they chain smoke and talking late into the night knowing I don't have to be up the next morning. I love not having to "put in" for time off hoping it comes through. I love working in coffee shops, or on my couch, or in my temporary home's king-sized bed. More importantly though, I am head over heels in love with the written word, with tarot cards, with theatre and all of it's beautiful messy amazing relatives, and I also love realizing I'm behind on deadlines and owe people readings and holing up for three days and talking to no one and emerging a productive, recharged butterfly with an empty to-do list. It's also a fact that my typing hours are limited sometimes because of joint pain, that sometimes I can go on five hours of sleep for three weeks and feel great but other times I need my eight hours and possibly a nap because I ruptured a cyst two nights ago and have been totally exhausted ever since, and that I can't be on my feet for a six hour retail shift without it knocking me out for the next four days. I am so, so lucky that I found passions and vocations that make this workable. I would never talk shit about my life. But it's really hard sometimes.

And with that, I digress: for four months I have a chance to do nothing but fundraise and create for Gadfly, to write and write and write, and to grow my business skill set and work to build my client roster so that those aspects of my life are not merely paying my bills but are allowing me to flourish, and in that flourishing help others find their voice and do the same. So this physical move that embodied so much symbolism for the full year ahead had a lot of emotion riding on it and put into it, and it went fine. I was a little disappointed by how chill it all felt. I've been to this house so many times, so leaving the crappy basement apartment Manny and I occupied longer than I've lived anywhere since early childhood was bittersweet, but the full impact of that hasn't hit me because the joy of friends like the ones who's house I'm staying in is that it just felt like going home. It's a good thing, but my emotions about it all are really complicated but also way more muted than I expected. I suspect this is frequently true for people in housing transition like this, but the complete quiet of it still took me by surprise.

 Some post-moving spoils.

Some post-moving spoils.

Then March happened in earnest, and my fucking Goddess did it happen in earnest. One goal for this year was to travel more and figure out how to make that a part of my life while still sustaining otherwise. I took a road trip to LA which you can read more about here, and I feel really good about how that fit into this year's goals and movement. I also got to catch up with some old friends, and that was significant to a year of movement for me. In the past I have had primarily unhealthy relationships where I just picked up and fled the friendship (or even the state in a few memorable instances) when it was time to "move on". This was usually the right call, but one thing catching up with great people reminded me is that when you're nurturing the right relationships in your life they get to move forward WITH you. You don't shed quality people, even if takes you awhile to realize your impact on each other and that's something I'm still learning and working on.

Then I came back from L.A. full of emotions, excitement, and exhaustion and everything else in my life hit the fan. In every aspect of my life. So while in January I prepped and planned for a year of movement, in February I physically moved, and for half of March I checked off a major goal, the latter half of March has left me with this huge question:

How do you keep moving forward when everything is falling apart?

And I don't know the answer yet, but I know I'm gonna figure it out. With Gadfly we've taken the tack of "okay, let's break down what's not working and rebuild." We're gonna pull our own Tower down and start over where some things are concerned while keeping the good stuff. That's not gonna work in my personal or emotional life though. In so many ways I don't want to get into I feel like a failure for the first time. I failed at some things this month, and that doesn't happen to me a lot. It brought every fear and insecurity boiling to the surface and I straight up shut down for a couple of days. In the grand scheme of things, two bad weeks mean nothing, but where I go from now is hugely important and I haven't made any decisions or taken any steps fully forward because I am scared of failing again. This is again totally new territory for me. It's always been my fear of success or of the unknown that have held me back, but this feeling of failure is brand new territory and I'm really baffled and upset by it.

And maybe that's the point. Maybe we can't move forward truly without some failures along the way. Maybe I'm supposed to be learning how to fail gracefully. Maybe I'm supposed to be learning to fail, period. I don't know. What I do know is I owe it to myself and the plethora of people who inexplicably believe in me to keep marching forward. So I will, somehow. I just don't really know what that looks like right now.

Until next time, Blessed be.

P.S. If you're super into queer art spaces existing, click here and help us out!

My Birthday Wishes

I didn't have candles to blow out this year (which is A-ok by me. 31 + 1 for luck seems like a fire hazard), but I still did my annual birthday reading and intention setting, of course. (I also went to Duluth, so enjoy some silly pictures interspersed to keep things interesting.) In addition to a ton of personal stuff, here is what I'm putting out in the world that I want to percolate on and manifest by the time I'm 32 (and how you can help me with one big dream!) :

  • This sounds so wild and out there--but I'd really like to at least be in talks about a book deal for my Queering the Tarot concept and columns.
  • A nice three-bedroom space for me and the queerplatonic partner to sprawl out in, and that can more easily accommodate for both of us manifesting adult relationships and other family dreams we have.
  • More road trips and travel in general--which I'm kicking off with a trip to LA in March!
  • AND speaking of space, my wonderful queer, feminist theatre company, Gadfly Theatre Productions is looking for a small found space that we can turn into a 70ish seat, adaptable space for not only our own work but other queer art and art by marginalized women to thrive. We have an IndieGoGo campaign ready to go here. We're off to a bit of a slow start but have plenty of time so I know we'll get there. Still, every little bit helps, and if we meet our push goals after the $7,000 we can start discounting rentals for other artists besides what's already in our business plan, creating a truly low-cost space to create in. I am so passionate about and excited to actually enter a phase where we can share a valuable resource AND root our own work so people know where to come for radical, patriarchy-smashing queer art.
 Look, it's Duluth! One of my favorite places in this entire world. Lake Superior is so soothing and restorative, and there are very few places I would have rather been on my birthday.

Look, it's Duluth! One of my favorite places in this entire world. Lake Superior is so soothing and restorative, and there are very few places I would have rather been on my birthday.

Beyond these four (BIG) goals, I just want to constantly be moving forward in my life right now. Last year was a huge year for personal emotional and spiritual growth. Now I want to take that into a year of action where my dreams morph into tangible goals. The Chariot card and the word "Movement"are what I'm holding in my heart for 2016. However, two days before my 31st birthday I was reading this amazing book, and there was a David Mura quote in the beginning:

Sometimes, you’re so busy surviving, you forget you already have.
— David Mura

I've had a ROUGH life. I don't say that to garner any sympathy, but so people understand that every single thing I do, every facet on my life, is built on the idea of surviving. I do just enough to get by, because building and growing has never seemed like an option. What if I need to pick up and run again, after all? Well after seven years in a city I love, six years running a theatre company that is the love of my life, a metaphysical store and a ton of clients supporting my tarot business, a writing job I wake up every day excited about, and a truly supportive "squad", I'm done being ready to pack up and go at a moment's notice. I have survived, and I am here to stay and make my mark in this world. (Besides, where else would I go that has this many quality coffee shops I can walk to in any given neighborhood?) I want to move forward, not away. I want to grow taller, not apart. I want to thrive, and for the first time in my life I see that as a possibility. I'm going to become more visible, and that terrifies me...

But never publishing my writing on a large scale? Never being a name in the theatre world at large? Never trusting and fully forming the non-traditional queer-as-can-be family I've always dreamed of? Those things terrify me way more, and those things deserve for my 31st year on this Earth to be one of moving towards them. 

Blessed be (and happy birthday to me!)