Incantation for the Hierophant: I Am Enough

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Whenever I feel unbalanced or stressed, I try to make more time for my cards. There is wisdom and healing in my decks, and they form the foundation of my spiritual practice. The tarot is a well I can draw upon again and again when my cup needs filling. Well, today my cup felt pretty depleted. In fact, my cup has been feeling rather depleted over the past few months of busyness and activity. Can you relate?

I had a dream this morning. In the dream, there were so many starving kittens and I saved them all, stuffing them in boxes and blankets in my already crowded home. It began to rain, and I had to leave my home once more to compete in a challenge, in a place I’ve been before, an open hall containing two thick cloth ropes that formed a treacherously high course. I was up first, and I fell. I failed the test, and my team continued without me. The team was made up of three women in my life whom I admire and criticize for different reasons, representing the sides of myself I am afraid to examine or (perhaps?) of which I am overly judgmental. I cowered and weeped at their competency and talents as I slinked off to a corner, to awaken with a pounding headache in bed.

I went to my living room floor, lit some incense, gathered up my tarot cards, and welcomed well and healed spirits and guides into my magical space. As I did, lush orange sunlight beamed through the window. I laid out a Celtic Cross spread for the state of my life and spirit, and what I’m failing to see. The Hierophant has been visiting me lately, and that makes sense; it’s my card for this month. You’ll see that raven perching in the corner of this spread, too. Working through the messages of the cards, a word came to mind: “enough.” My mind races with this word. “Nothing is ever enough.” “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not disciplined enough.” “I don’t practice enough.” “I’m not talented enough, so maybe I should give up.” Raised in a capitalist society, I grew up believing that productivity and success determine my worth. No matter how many kittens you save, so my dream logic goes, you’re still a failure. This is the kind of absurd self-talk my subconscious self seemed to be highlighting.

And it is absurd, how hard many of us push ourselves. Some of us have no choice but to. Despite that, I am trying to learn that I am already what I’m meant to be: a living, breathing part of the divine web of existence. I do enough. I work enough. I have enough. There are many in the world who truly lack, who don’t have enough food, clean water, safety. But I am incredibly privileged and that is not me. Indeed, I have much more than enough. And yet, it can be so hard to see that. I am clouded by mental events, by my brain and its doing mode, which shouts at me, “You must, you should, you need…” This is a part of my Shadow, which the Hierophant waits to reveal to me in my dreams, in the cards, and in the flicker of the candles on my altar.

The cards laid out on the table, my body tired and drained, I walked away from the spread to eat some food and shower. I applied a homemade herbal oil – sweet almond stained bright yellow from dried chamomile and calendula blossoms – to my entire body and came back to the cards. Cleansed and ready to receive, this incantation came to me. It did not start with rhymes but developed them over time, as stream of consciousness transformed to spell. Should it speak to you, feel free to use it. Repeat it daily as an affirmation, read it lovingly aloud with a cup of tea or standing before your own altar, read it while holding The Emperor card close to your heart, or whisper it softly to yourself as you welcome the wisdom of your dreams.

I am a conduit of divinity and strength.
I fill my cup so my magic may shine.
I honor the abundance around and within me
and love the Shadow that binds.

I am an active agent of change,
tending myself as well as the world.

I do enough. I am good enough.
I see myself blossom and unfold.

The future holds that which my heart desires most.
I do as I will, harming none.
My hard work is an unfolding, not an undoing.
I embody the strength of the Sun.

I examine and embrace the dark parts of me,
for these hold the key to my glory.

I hope generously and freely, I believe in what will be.
I am enough, I am free, so mote it be.

2018: A Year of Magic

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The Magician, The Wild Unknown Tarot 

I’ve been learning the tarot for one year, a practice which began last New Year’s Eve when I was visiting home and joined two dear friends, Andrew and Anne Marie, at their kitchen table for a reading. Andrew had purchased the same deck that’d been sitting neglected on my bookshelf for many months, and I took this as an invitation to return to the cards. We drew a card for each month and one to encapsulate 2018; none embodied the energy of the past year quite like The Magician.

2018 was a year of magic and my challenge was learning to receive it.

Last year, I experienced a transformation; I am not the same person I had been. That year, I learned to let go of a number of habits and beliefs that had been causing me deep suffering for so much of my adult life: confusing shame for anxiety and mental moments for facts, fighting against my feelings rather than accepting them, tuning out. The year brought many other blessings. New friendships came unexpectedly, adding layers of love and inspiration to my life. I spent an hour each week for many weeks with a therapist, a kind and nurturing woman who turned my understanding of human emotions upside down and who showed me how to love and accept unconditionally – myself first, then others.

I learned what true compassion can feel like and how finding seeds of connection in others can transform relationships. I also learned to tune in with the deeper tides of experience that flow beneath the surface of consciousness; in other words, I connected with my inner child.  Throughout the year, I repeatedly drew the same tarot cards: Cups/Sea, Mothers/Queens, The Moon. The sea and the subconscious were so dominant in my mind and spirit that I had them etched into my skin so that I would never forget. I still see my dreams in shades of seafoam, the mysteries and magic of life in the crashing tides.

It was last year that I was thrown by chance onto the stage and rediscovered how theatre and the act of making a show can be deeply medicinal, spiritual practices. Through theatre, I reconnected with my physical body, from which I’d been disassociating for years but hadn’t known it. I performed in another play and won a Best Actor award. I took up drawing again, played many hours of Dungeons & Dragons, studied the tarot. I directed a short play and through that experience uncovered yet another unexpected and powerful friendship.

I expanded into the world, seeking connection and contributing what I could with the energy of The Magician, my ambitious ally. The love and passion I sent out returned in the form of new connections, a sense of community, and opportunities which are filling me with such thrill and anticipation I hardly know what to do with the feelings.

Here is the magic I came to see: the universe is abundant and cyclical as the sea. Its gifts are boundless. When your heart is open and loving, you will find that there is so very much to receive.