#taroteveryday, tending to the garden of my shadow (or not)

I am scheduled for an out of town work trip this weekend. I like to pull a spread before these kinds of things, just to get a heads up of the energy around it and what might come up. The last one even warned me to ready myself for some more intense than usual microaggression. For this trip, I chose the Spirit Cards deck since I'm on an avoiding tarot for myself kick and I want to get to know these charming little cats.  I modified my tarot spread for journeying to focus on internal work.

I was pleasantly surprised by the punch these soft-looking cats dealt. They are small but mighty, I have to admit. I ended up having a lot to sit with on this reading. I also continued my strategy for these cards- refusing to look at them while I shuffle and lay them out feline face up. I also identified some keywords I would use with each of the cats and only then looked to see if they resonated with the artist's vision. It's a fun intuitive exercise. Here's what I got:

my tarot for journeying together spread with the Spirit Cats deck by Nicole Piara

my tarot for journeying together spread with the Spirit Cats deck by Nicole Piara

1) High Priestess/Intuition ------------ Vision
2) Creativity/Fire ------------- Adventure
3) Shadow ------------- Shadow
4) Lush/The Empress/Meadow ------------- Tending Garden
5) Curiosity/Work/Playful ------------- Mischief

Pretty on point, right?

In fact, I'd say that my the art in the cards resonated pretty damn well with my intuition. This definitely goes in the plus column for this deck. I thought it would be strange to read with these cards- I'd initially had a hard time trying to think of how the cards would read but I'm pleasantly surprised. I still wish the meanings were in a LWB and not the back of the cards!

Here's how it all laid out in the reading.

1) What is the energy around this journey? VISION
It was hard to believe this could be a card about work, but it also forced me to reckon with the separation of I've put between my healing and healing work in Asali Earthwork and my "real life" work- that is the more traditionally acceptable career route. This is probably the reason I'm always so drained and stressed by this part of my life. I've divorced it from the parts of me that regularly take in joy and fulfillment. I did this at first as a way to safely put up boundaries but instead I've cut myself off entirely.

This is something that is hard to grapple with it, particularly from those of use who find more fulfillment in our hobbies and side-hustles- especially if they involve spirit work.

The work I do in Asali Earthwork is my passion, it's my purpose, I know this. I also know that the work I do every Monday to Friday, and yes pays most of my bills for now, isn't completely abhorrent. It's stressful, and it hardly gives as much back as healer's work (which is work and that's something that has been important for me to name), and there is also something of that weekday job that is fulfilling.

In fact, when I describe what I do to others the most common feedback is, "oh that must be so fulfilling!". So why am I not seeing or feeling that for myself?

2) How can I show up for myself during this journey? ADVENTURE
"Widen your circle of experience and step into a different point-of-view. Home never looks the same from afar." Well the work of the previous card will definitely move me out of my comfort zone. As far as this trip, I know my difficulty is with the people. Likely because of the attitude I have towards this work. Shifting that might mean meeting new people, acknowledging the ones I already know, and opening my spirit up to this space.

I am still wary though. There was a reason I put that boundary up in the first place; I am going to have to figure out how to balance being more open and delighted in my work and why I do it without letting it take too much from me.

3) How might I grow from this journey? SHADOW
According to the card's message on the back, shadow (the name given for this cat) is the space of our vulnerabilities and we are called to nurture it. I love this understanding of shadow work. Shadow work isn't so much about just uncovering what was hidden or lost, or poking at old wounds. We are called to nurture that space, not so it can take over but so that we can transform it, transmute it into growth and reclaimed power.

What would it mean to truly show up for our vulnerabilities- the places of grief and trauma that stay with us?

How can we learn to dig up the rocks and hard places, softening the earth, tending to that terrain until something new grows- hope, love, even joy. We are this shadow cat, and we're imploring ourselves for the chance to come home. We are wary and weary and we must also take the chance on loving ourselves.

4) What energy should I release during this journey? TENDING THE GARDEN
Considering the reflection that came to me in the previous card, it was a bit confusing to then be ask to release the garden tending. But then again, it's not that this work isn't useful or necessary- it may be that just for this time, it does not serve me.

That is a balance we must be aware of. Shadow work is important, and so is light work. So is spending time away from that space in order to let it heal. If you've ever tried to grow anything, you know that too much fuss and you might lose your whole crop. This too for shadow work. Shadow work isn't always the conscious intending work that is often discussed. We must remember that the space of the shadow is the unconscious, and that it's not meant to constantly be dragged into our consciousness. Sometimes you just have to set the stage and let it be.

This feels like where I'm at right now. I've been trying so hard to manage my grief- but if I'm honest, I breathe easiest when I'm not paying attention to it. When I'm just living my life best I can with all my heartbroken pieces and uneven breath. And I have less pieces strewn all over, they are coming together slowly, breathing is easier and deeper every day. I'm slowly but surely healing.

Yes, I credit a huge part of that to all the reflection, crying, writing, meditation, and prayer I've been diving into... and I also recognize ancestors, spirit, and nature who have been holding and healing me when I wasn't even looking. They too are tenders to my shadow's garden.

5) What energy should I bring back with me? MISCHIEF
Hey, Baba Eshu. In my spiritual tradition, the maker of mischief is Eshu (also called Elegua in different spaces). Our own year-round Mercury Rx energy. Eshu opens the way, communicates our desires, meets as at the crossroads, and reminds us to be light of heart and spirit. Intelligent, playful, and exacting, I personally associate him with feline energy, so this feels very appropriate that I should see him here. From this trip, I am offered the opportunity to lighten my spirit and heart's load substantially, to leave it at the crossroads. Released from deep grieving work, at least for now, and to let those who hold me be with me.

So it looks like I'll be making time to be silly, fun, and indulgent this weekend. I'll take that blessing with wide open arms.

ETA: Talk about mischief! I wrote this all up last night and as it turns out I woke up very late for my trip out of time and I wasn't able to make it out. Looks like I'll be home for my mischief. I see you, Eshu. Maferefun!