Shedding My Skin

Death from the Motherpeace Tarot

2018 is a Death card year for me.* The Death card from the Motherpeace Tarot is one of my favorites. It includes Birch trees, which in Celtic lore represent new beginnings and rebirth, but it also shows death. So many Death cards tend to skip straight to the rebirth part, ignoring that death has to happen first.

Death and transformation aren’t easy processes. You get reduced down to bare bones like the skeleton in this picture. In fact, my word of the year has ended up being “Bones,” meaning what is most foundational to me? What is most essential to me? What really matters? I’m working my way down to the bare bones of many things in my life.

I also love the image of the snake shedding its skin in this card. I have a friend who has a pet snake, and every time he molts he becomes lethargic, stops eating, and his eyes cloud over. Each time she worries that he isn’t going to make it through the molt. So far he’s made it through every time, emerging fresh and new. However, it obviously is not an easy or a comfortable process for him, and death and transformation aren’t easy or comfortable processes for us either.

I feel like I’m in the process of shedding my own skin. My skin feels itchy and uncomfortable. It feels like many things in my life don’t “fit” me any more. However, I don’t know what I’m moving towards, I don’t know what’s next. Like physical death, experiencing transformation in our lives is moving into the unknown. It’s a process, and it moves in its own time, and right now I just feel like all I can do is wait and see what happens next.

That’s why I haven’t been blogging as much—I don’t really have all that much to say. My life feels like it is in flux. I’m not quite sure who I am right now, or who I am becoming. It is both frightening and exciting. It is tempting to try and do something to speed up the process, but I’m realizing that isn’t possible. Like my friend’s snake, I have to just let myself go through it, and trust that I’ll emerge fresh and new on the other side.

I feel like I am questioning everything right now, getting down the bare bones of everything in my life. The constant questions I keep asking myself are things like, “Does xyz really matter to me?” “Do I really care about xyz, or am I doing it because I think I ‘should’?” “What do I really want? What matters to me?” It is liberating to ask these questions, but I don’t always have the answers. Sometimes I just have to live with the questions and trust that I’ll find my answers eventually.

And like the snake, I find myself retreating during this process, becoming lethargic and withdrawn. I go to work, I take walks, I go to bed early. I’ve also recently started working on old crewel kits from the ’70s that I find on eBay. They are almost like paint-by-numbers—no counting, no thinking, just lots of stitching, which I find soothing. There’s is also a sense of nostalgia, looking back to my childhood in the late ’70s/early ’80s that makes working on these kits a pleasure. Again, it feels like I’m getting down to just the bare bones of life. It’s simple. It feels right for me right now.

So I’ll most likely continue to be somewhat quiet as I make my way through this period of transformation in my life. It is feeling very good to just experience things without having to put them into words. I’m realizing that words aren’t always enough, and sometimes they even get in the way of truly experiencing our lives. I’m enjoying just being and feeling and not having to think and analyze it all.

Here’s to getting down to the bare bones and finding our true foundations!

*To determine your personal tarot year card, add 2018 + your birth month + your birth day. For example, if you were born on 2/15, you’d add 2018+2+15=2035. Then add those numbers together: 2+0+3+5=10. Your personal year card would be 10, The Wheel of Fortune. If the numbers add up to 22, your card is 0, The Fool. If they add up to 23 or more, reduce them again by adding the two digits together, for example if you have 29, 2+9=11, and your year card is 11, Justice. This system was devised my Mary K. Greer, and more information about tarot year cards can be found in her books Tarot for Yourself, and Who Are You in the Tarot? 

Easing Into 2018

I hope everyone is having a lovely winter holiday season!

This year, I have been taking the time between Winter Solstice and New Year’s Day as a “time out of time,” something I learned from Joanna Powell Colbert, who learned it from Waverly Fitzgerald. It is a time to rest, reflect on 2017, and begin dreaming for 2018.

Enjoying a nature walk at a local county park yesterday on a cool, gray day.

As much as possible I’ve been letting myself use this as a retreat time, and to take a break from work, chores, and any other things I feel like I “should” be doing. I’ve been taking rambling nature walks (I’d fallen out of the habit of this, and I’ve missed it!) and doing some nature journaling. I’ve been spending my evenings quietly reading, playing in my journal, writing, and reflecting. I’ve spent the past couple of days doing a review of 2017 using a method which I also learned from Joanna Powell Colbert many years ago, and the next few days will be about dreaming up my goals for 2018, making a few plans, and creating vision pages for my dreams and goals in my journal.

I’m a firm believer in easing into the New Year, though. January is still quiet and dark, and it isn’t easy to find the energy to suddenly jump into several new projects. We don’t need to force ourselves to move against the natural flow of energy this time of year. We can spend all of January resting, reflecting, and dreaming if we would like to, gradually working our way into our new plans and projects as the days lengthen and we feel our own energy returning.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite ideas and resources for reflecting on 2017, and planning for 2018, and I hope some of them will  be helpful if you find yourself wanting to take some time to retreat and reflect this time of year, too.

  • Reflect on 2017 following the suggestions in Reflecting on the Year Gone By, by Joanna Powell Colbert. This is the method I’ve been using for many years to review the past year.
  • Do a ritual to let go of your disappointments and challenges from 2017. Write them down and burn the paper, or put it through the shredder and toss it in the trash (outside the house would be best). Or write them on leaves with a soft pencil, and toss the leaves into a river or stream to be carried away (I think this is what I’ll be doing with my disappointments!).
  • Do a Tarot Spread for the New Year, by Joann Powell Colbert. I’ve been doing this spread every year for many years, and it is always full of wonderful insights. If you did a New Year tarot spread last year, review it and see how it related to the events of this year.
  • Ask yourself, “What is my heart longing for in 2018?” and use my Intuitive Collage technique to look for answers.
  • Reflect on your tarot year card, and how it related to the events of the past year. Look at your upcoming tarot year card and consider how it may influence the upcoming year.*
  • Start writing down some of your dreams and goals for 2018, and sketching out some rough plans and action steps to make them happen. Create a vision board of your goals (or several boards, one for each goal), or create vision collages in your journal with images and affirmations that inspire you. Try not to overwhelm yourself! Just choose two or three things to focus on for now, and give yourself permission to ease into them. You could use January as an information gathering time (for instance researching healthy eating, or finding reviews of yoga studios in your area if health and fitness is one of your dreams), rather than an action-taking time.
  • Most importantly, schedule as much down-time as you can into the next week or two. It’s hard to figure out what we really want if we don’t have the time and space to hear our own hearts whispering to us. Silence is important. Doing nothing is important. Give yourself an hour or two in the evening to sit  in silence with soft lighting and just daydream. Keep your journal handy to make notes of any ideas that come to you while you let your mind wander. You don’t have to make decisions now, just dream and make notes.

May 2018 be all that you want it to be!

*To determine your personal tarot year card, add 2017 (or 2018 for the  new year)+your birth month+your birth day. For example, if you were born on 2/15, you’d add 2017+2+15=2034. Then add those numbers together: 2+0+3+4=9. Your personal year card would be 9, The Hermit. If the numbers add up to 22, your card is 0, The Fool. If they add up to 23 or more, reduce them again by adding the two digits together, for example if you have 28, 2+8=10, and your year card is 10, The Wheel of Fortune. This system was devised my Mary K. Greer, and more information about tarot year cards can be found in her books Tarot for Yourself, and Who Are You in the Tarot? 

It’s Introvert Season

October is such a beautiful month! We still have blue skies and some warm days, but there is a chill in the air, and rainy days are scattered among the sunny ones.

Autumn is also what I like to think of as “introvert season.” I find myself wanting to draw inside myself. I am drawn to read more, to journal more, and to engage with the outside world a little less.

To that end, I have decided to take October off from social media and from blogging.

A few days ago I deactivated my Facebook account (I almost never post there, but would check it several times a day), removed the Instagram app from my phone (although I may check in on my computer from time to time), and removed any other apps and links that had become time sucks for me.

I thought I’d miss those things, but honestly so far it has been liberating. Being online was beginning to feel like being constantly yelled at by thousands of people who were telling me what they think I should feel, think, do, or say. It was exhausting, and I was wasting so much time.

After only a few days of no social media, I find that I am able to focus better, I’m being more creative, I’m reading more, I’m journaling more, and I’m talking to real, live people (in small doses, of course)!

Part of the impetus for taking a month off was reading Brene Brown’s new book Braving the Wilderness. Her book made me think about true connection, and what role social media actually plays for me in truly connecting with other people. I highly recommend reading this book—it is relatively short, but it is packed with so much food for thought.

I will wait until November to do another 15 Quiet Minutes post, but in the meantime I highly recommend trying the last 15 Quiet Minutes practice, Tarot Prayers and Affirmations. I have been using this practice in the evenings and I am finding so much new depth in the tarot and in my prayer practice.

I have also recently posted some new rosaries to my Etsy shop to honor the Dark Goddess, whom many of us may find ourselves connecting with this time of year.

Lapis Lazuli & Owl Rosary

Black Obsidian and Labradorite Crescent Moon Rosary

Green Sheen Obsidian Pocket Prayer Beads (these have a beautiful green sheen in bright light)

I hope you have a wonderful October and a blessed Hallowmas/Samhain!

A Summer Update and Saying Goodbye to Posey

Wow, it has been quite a summer, both personally, and for the world at large.

In early July I somehow injured my knee and it still isn’t completely healed. I saw an osteopath recently and she thinks I might have a meniscal tear that could eventually require surgery. Yikes! That injury seemed to slow my momentum, both literally and figuratively. I feel like I’ve been living in suspended animation since then, unable to make any forward progress in any area of my life. It has also kept me from being able to walk much, hike, dance, or do yoga, which is definitely not great for my mental health!

My personal year card is 12 – The Hanged One, and I’m definitely feeling that energy.*** Like I’m stuck, hanging, and have few options except to just let go and surrender to whatever process is taking place right now. It isn’t exactly an unpleasant place to be, in a strange way it is kind of restful, but occasionally my brain kicks in with “You should be busy (fill in the blank with a million things)!” and I start to feel frustrated and overwhelmed with the inertia.

I did my Lammas Tarot Reading on August 2, using the Tarot of the Crone, and my “Overall Theme” card was Shadow of Disks, a barren landscape of physical loss and/or illness. My “Challenge” card was Beast of Wands, which features a cat. My 17 year-old cat Posey was diagnosed with an abdominal tumor (possibly lymphoma) in the spring, and though I don’t normally read tarot in a predictive way, seeing those two cards next to each other I just knew that I would be losing her before Autumn Equinox. The very next day she started to take a turn for the worse.

We were able to get her stabilized and I was blessed with a little over two more weeks of her presence. The weekend before the solar eclipse she was doing quite well, and we had a wonderful couple of days of snuggling on the couch and hanging out in the yard together. Then on August 21st, after the eclipse, I noticed that her legs looked strange and she seemed distressed. I realized that she wasn’t able to move one of her back legs. It was time. We took her to the vet to be put to sleep, and her passing was peaceful, but it wasn’t easy to say goodbye to my wonderful girl. She was the sweetest, most gentle cat I have ever known.

My sweet Posey Rose

I’ve been in a bit of a daze since then, and the same day she died the smoke from the wildfires burning all around us here got really bad, and it hasn’t improved much since then. It hasn’t been possible to spend much time outdoors or to go to the river where I usually seek peace and solace.

To help with the grief, I created a memory journal for Posey, using writing prompts from the book When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. I used this book and the journaling prompts when my other cat Priscilla died three years ago, and I highly recommend it if you are dealing with the loss of a pet.

I created a little memorial altar to her on the evening of her death with a pink candle carved with a heart and a rainbow, a few of her favorite toys, and her food and water dishes. I lit the candle each evening for the first three nights after she died and let it burn out on the third night to light her way on the next phase of her journey. I do believe that all souls move on after death in some capacity, and I hope that we’ll be reunited with those we’ve loved, though perhaps not in the forms we know them now.

So, it has not been an easy summer, or a particularly pleasant one, but somehow it all feels okay, like this is a necessary transition period that I need to make my way through.

And good things have happened, too! I took Lisa Sonora’s Creative + Practice course, and have fallen even more in love with creative journaling. Regular creative practice and journaling has been a big support for me through all of these challenges.

I adopted a kitty I named Winnie from our local shelter, because I just couldn’t stand having a completely quiet, empty house after Posey was gone. Winnie is about a year old and is playful, affectionate, and silly—she makes me laugh on a regular basis and has definitely helped with the grieving process. I like to think that welcoming her into the house and thereby freeing up room for another kitty to be saved at the shelter honors Posey’s life, since she was a stray, too.


I’ve also started learning macrame (because I really need another hobby—ha!), and have been enjoying it. There is something very soothing about tying knots over and over again.

I am really looking forward to fall, and to the rains returning. We desperately need some rain to dampen down the fires, clear out the smoke, and give all the firefighters and those who are fearing for their homes and properties a break.

My heart has also been grieved by the events in Charlottesville, and the flooding in Texas and South Asia. I don’t even have words for all that has been happening in our country and across the world. It takes time for me to process these kind of things, and I’m still sitting with it all. It really has been quite a summer, hasn’t it?

I plan to get back to regular blogging now, and will have a new 15 Quiet Minutes post up for next week’s full moon. I also added a few new rosaries to my Etsy shop yesterday. I’m especially smitten with this labradorite one, its energy is perfect for the transition into the dark part of the year.

I guess all we can do is hang in there. We’ll get through all of this, and hopefully we’ll come out stronger on the other side.


***To determine your personal tarot year card, add 2017+your birth month+your birth day. For example, if you were born on 2/15, you’d add 2017+2+15=2034. Then add those numbers together: 2+0+3+4=9. Your personal year card would be 9, The Hermit. If the numbers add up to 22, your card is 0, The Fool. If they add up to 23 or more, reduce them again by adding the two digits together, for example if you have 28, 2+8=10, and your year card is 10, The Wheel of Fortune. This system was devised my Mary K. Greer, and more information about tarot year cards can be found in her books Tarot for Yourself, and Who Are You in the Tarot?.

A Temporary Hiatus

Hello everyone! Normally I would be posting my next 15 Quiet Minutes post tomorrow for the Full Moon, but I’m going to be taking a bit of time off from the blog.

My 17 year-old cat has a large mass in her abdomen that was diagnosed in the spring. She has been doing very well on her medication, but she suddenly took a turn for the worse on Friday. She is stable now, but I don’t really know how much time she has left.

Spending time with her as well as experiencing the grief of knowing it will soon be time to make the choice to let her go is pretty much taking up all of my energy and bandwidth right now.

I will get back to blogging as soon as I am able. Hug your fur-babies tightly for me! It is such a blessing to share our lives with them, but saying goodbye is so painful.

Vacation Time!

Retreat time (Goddess figure from Brigid’s Grove)

Okay, it’s really more of a staycation. Or a personal retreat. I’ve been feeling the need to take a couple of weeks and withdraw from being online much. I plan to take a break from blogging, and maybe even from posting on Instagram very often.

I celebrated my birthday on Saturday, and I’ve noticed that I tend to feel a need to withdraw and contemplate my life around my birthday. In Mysteries of the Dark Moon Demetra George writes that many people experience a dark moon phase in their lives the month before their birthday, and I have noticed that April can tend to be a challenging month for me each year. This year, however, I was busy working on my Etsy shop and catching up with life after being sick through most of March, and I never really took any downtime for myself.

Now, I have some space opening up and the opportunity to have a couple of weeks alone, and even though I feel like I should keep working, I also know that I am really longing for a break. I feel like something is brewing inside me, and I need to take some time offline to listen to myself.

I plan to spend time reading, journaling, taking long walks, painting, finishing up my spring cleaning, renewing my spiritual practices, and sitting outside watching the world go by. I also have a friend coming to visit for a couple of days, which I’m really looking forward to.

I should be back to blogging again in a couple of weeks. Until then, I hope you are enjoying May—isn’t it one of the most beautiful months?! May you enjoy every minute of these flower-filled days!

New! Recommended Books & Other Resources


I have been wanting to add a Recommended Resources page to my website for quite a while so that I would have a place to share books, magazine, videos, calendars and journals and anything else that I have found helpful on my spiritual journey. I finally sat down and did it!

This is just a start, and I will be adding to it periodically. I definitely want to add a section for tarot books, for example. But I hope you find what is already there helpful. I especially recommend scrolling down to check out the video recommendations—maybe you’ll find something to watch this weekend!

Happy reading and watching!