That one time I made bad tea. Recognizing burnout.

I made bad tea the other day.

I mixed the sweetest of flowers on my herb shelf- rose, hibiscus, chamomile, jasmine, and lavender- as I've done many times before when looking to invoke sweet magic. I added honey for extra love and a dash of lemon.

The tea was awful.*

This should have been fundamentally impossible. There was nothing wrong with my ingredients or even the technical aspects of brewing the tea. I'd made the tea before, my standard floral tea recipe, to nothing but sweet results.

As a healer, I engage my senses to work energy often- I can feel the energy of a room on my skin, I see auras and visions, I hear messages, I can sometimes smell if a room is energetically unsafe. This was my first experience tasting energy.

There was no love, no magic, just my dissatisfaction.

I take great joy in my healing work for others. It lights me up to mix a blend of herbs for a tea, bath, or tincture for my clients; I am excited to cast cards for querents; I love writing up a post on tarot or earthwork and receive affirmation that it helped someone out there. To serve my community as a healer is nourishing.

Being seen as a healer was the issue. Suddenly I was worried about producing visibly as a healer and feeling that my performance as a healer required me to show and tell and share not my work, but its product. This pressure had begun to insidiously turn me away from work for myself.

It hurt to realize that the dissatisfaction lay in the fact that I was making this tea for myself. With the exception of tarot, often self-healing work has always been internal- quiet, subtle, and invisible to others where no camera can capture it for the world to see me as healer. I was bored, annoyed, and frustrated that I was brewing this tea for me. I had become resentful of taking time to heal myself!

Needless to say, I dumped the tea.

I'm trying to do better with turning inward now, and being okay with it staying inside me and unconsumed by the world. I'm still writing this post as a public blog though, because there is nothing wrong with being a healer who uses social media- whether as journal or exposure or both. Blogging about my journey in healing work has always been a vulnerable and at times necessary purgative act. I just need to remember that the affirmation of producing healing in this very visible fashion for others will not be enough to replenish my cup.

I am still going to write. My blog and instagram are practically my tarot journal. I have found community on twitter and facebook because I chose to share. The healing work I do with others is important.

It's up to me to remember that I am also called to the moon as much as the sun, and the shadow deserves tending to as well.

My last cup of tea tasted wonderful by the way.


*despite my singular experience, you should definitely try this brew for yourself, especially as a bath tea!

Marking the Page with Tarot

Moving energy, moving the plot of our lives, and taking back some control in whatever capacity we can.

Life as long-winding plot, and the cards as dog-eared pages, bookmarks, notes on the margins.

I love storytelling with tarot because it allows for some imagined distance- it becomes less about me and more about the characters while simultaneously requiring my personal and sometimes unconscious engagement.

After all, perhaps we are always The Fool- which is something to remember, even as The Emperor, King of Pentacles, or The World we are The Fool by a different name and costume.

How does remembering to be The Fool even in a card as dignified as the Queen of Cups or as tumultuous as Ten of Swords shift the energy? I find comfort in it. A while ago I asked The Fool to call forth elemental energies that I needed to work through via a free-writing session, no edits-no corrections.

Another self-meditation storytelling approach is to directly engage the card and its image, tell the story of the characters in the art as a way to access deeper messages and lessons. As is to be masterfully done by my sister femme healer D. F. Howard in her tarot stories:

"What it will involve is me taking a card that I pulled that week and writing a brief story around what is happening, breathing life back into the portraits we are given on the cards. These stories will be brief, containing enough information to allow the reader to gleam what I believe the card means. They are by no means everything you need to know about the cards. They are just a glimpse into them. The majority of these for now will be with the Fountain Tarot though they may change."

The first post is up: Knight of Coins: The Steady Walker and it's already helped shift some of how I approach the Knight of Coins' offered wisdoms. Also the story is fun, which I sometimes forget tarot can be.

"A shadowed figure rests at the edge of the atrium, two heartbeats from entering the arena. He stands alone, green cloak still as death, staring at the object the King gave him twenty three days and four hours ago: one lone coin.

A challenge. That’s how he got here. The Kings decided to pit their apprentices against one another. “A challenge of the elements,” they said. “Time to find out whose best once and for all,” they joked. The Kings loved to play these “games,” as they called them, but the knights knew differently. They knew that if they lost they would pay, one way or the other. Friendly games do not exist in the Kingdom of the World."

Check it out, it's brilliant!

What are some of your favorite ways to tell stories in tarot?

Let's keep talking about healing with tarot stories: