Happy April Fool’s Day! So, where the hell have I been for the last month, you might be wondering? The short answer is, it isn’t pretty. The long(er) answer is that I have spent the better part of the last month fighting a terrible bout of anxiety, and all of its odd assorted and frightening physical symptoms.

I’m gonna be a little vulnerable here, and give you an idea what it’s been like for the last month: imagine waking up every morning with the most intense, raw, hollow, gnawing sensation you’ve ever felt right in the pit of your stomach. Eating doesn’t help. Drinking water doesn’t help. Exercising doesn’t help. Yoga and meditation don’t help. When you finally manage to pull yourself out of bed and start your morning routine, trying to get your kid to school or get yourself to wherever you’re supposed to be in an hour, your heart starts skipping beats, sometimes painfully hard. You get dizzy. You spend the entire day fighting off an overwhelming, all-encompassing and completely irrational fear that you feel in tiny, watery explosions all over your body. Just the simple act of getting up and walking from one end of the room to the other sends a shock of fear through your whole body and you end up back in bed, curled up over a pillow, and sobbing so hard it feels like your heart will stop. Something like that.

You go to the doctor – twice – and they check you out, run some blood work and run what feels like your annual EKG to make sure your ticker is ticking, and everything turns out – ta da! – perfectly normal. So they send you home to suffer it out until either whatever it is finally goes away, or you get worse and wind up in the ER.

Most days, I could haul my ass to wherever I was supposed to be. Other days, not so much.  Instead, I find myself withdrawing from everything – and I mean, everything – and everyone and just trying to give my body the time it needs to process and heal. But, oy, once it goes away, then I find myself having to clean up the mess that I’ve made with damaged relationships and broken trust and trying to convince the whole world that I’m really a good person and, you know, not a complete fucking flake.

Allopathic medicine doesn’t really have much to offer me on days like that – sure, I could take something to mask the sensations and the emotions, but I’ve been down that road before, and those drugs leave me even more useless. (And very often, sicker and unconscious for hours at a time.)

So, yeah, fuck that shit. The good news is that I was referred to a new therapist locally, someone that was recommended by a lot of people in my little circle of new-agey light-worker-y friends, and this gal is da bomb. She uses a combination of talk therapy, Therapeutic Touch, and other energy medicine practices to help you not just understand what’s happening in your body and your emotions, but also to help you release it and clear it.

At my first appointment with her, I told her that I had been dealing with these sensations that had all left the doctors scratching their heads but that had nonetheless left me incapacitated for the better part of the day. She talked, and she did some Therapeutic Touch, and told me – finally – something that made sense: this is trauma that my body is dealing with. We’re not clear yet on whether this is inherited/karmic, or something that happened in my current life, but I can’t tell you how much relief I felt just to have a name for it. What happens now? I go back a few more times and we do some more work and we figure out what the fuck is going on, and then we do some work to clear it so I can get back to having a life.

On that note…last night was the first night in AGES that I felt like working with a new deck. And after all, we’re in a whole new season (despite the 8 inches of heavy wet snow we got last night and this morning), so using my Spidey Senses, I picked up my Psychic Tarot For the Heart and finally opened that puppy up!

I bought this deck ages ago, after having a dream about a green Tarot deck. A couple of days later, this one popped up in a Google search for something completely unrelated, so it came to live at my house.

I’ve been so lax at working with these new decks that I’ve collected over the last year or so, so I hadn’t even really taken this one out of the box yet or smudged it or anything. Thankfully, I still have a couple of big fat sticks of Palo Santo and a lighter that works, so I smudged this deck, breathed some light into it, and got to work.

First things first: the deck interview spread from my favorite Tarot reader and writer at Little Red Tarot. And holy momma, this is a good one.

Before I get to the actual interview (I know, this is a looooong post, grab yourself a cup of something hot and yummy and stick with me here), I have to say that after my appointment with the new therapist, I suddenly felt like I understood a whole lot better that I have some serious healing to do this spring. After looking through the cards and the guide book for this deck, I can honestly say that this is the perfect deck for me to be using right now. (More about that in the deck review when I get that posted later this week.)

On to the interview!

Psychic Tarot For the Heart Deck Interview

Like I needed any more confirmation that this deck was right for this period in my life…in the guide book, it states that the cards aren’t meant to be read reversed. Okay, cool, that works for me. So I took the deck and shuffled the living crap out of it – like, seriously, face down on the bed, smearing the cards around while breathing gently on them, no idea what card is face up or face down or anything. When I let myself be guided to draw the cards for this interview? I got all cards that are related to the Major Arcana in Tarot. AND – not a single one of them came up reversed. Boom.

So, here are the questions and answers for this deck interview:

What is your most important characteristic? 15 Master (similar to The Devil in traditional Tarot)  Just from looking at this card, you can see that it’s about mastering your fears and learning how to “uncage” your heart. If I ever had any doubts about my work with Tarot and oracle cards, this deck is here to help me erase those and learn how to confront and deal with my fears, with Tarot and with the rest of my life, and quite possibly with this trauma I need to work through. The most important characteristic of this deck is its ability to identify, work with, and release fear. Indeed, the images on these cards give me a feeling of safety and support – this deck is a safe place where you can explore those dark corners of the soul with gentle loving kindness and compassion. This is the deck to use when doing shadow work, identifying those parts of yourself – even the good parts – that for whatever reason you have decided are unacceptable: your need for love, your need for security, your need for compassion, your need for support, your need to be heard and to be held. You notice in the image that he’s gently balancing that light of the caged heart between his hands, encouraging it to come out, give it a safe space outside of the bars….it made me feel as though this deck’s most important characteristic is the way it will give you a safe space to come outside the cage of fear around your heart.

What are your strengths as a deck? 13 Release (similar to Death in the traditional Tarot) Call me crazy, but the Death card is actually one of my favorite cards in the Tarot, and this particular interpretation just spoke volumes to me. The keywords listed for this card are discard, shed, end, transformation, freedom, empowerment – not exactly what some doomsday Tarot readers associate with the Death card. But the imagery – a man shedding his old, dull, brown and tattered shirt to reveal a shining, pure, radiant being – speaks for itself. The strengths of this deck are obviously related to the idea of transformation and letting go of the old shit that holds us down and holds us back from being our own true, radiant selves. No coincidence that this card comes up as the strengths card, because in the last couple of months, I have been told over and over again that I need to find a way to let myself “shine” – and it’s become painfully obvious to me what happens when I take off those old, tattered clothes and reveal my glowing inner self. As this relates to the first card – Master – it tells me that this is a deck of transformation, and providing support to help us through those painful shifts that need to happen in order for us to embrace our true nature. Yowza.

What are your limits as a deck? 19 Shine (similar to The Sun in the traditional Tarot) At first glance, I thought, how can this possibly be a limitation? But then after a little reading and a little musing, I realized that yes, there’s a danger in being so overly positive all the freaking time. So while this deck will indeed give us a safe space to process and transform, we have to be aware of that “light chasers” syndrome – the people that are so fixated with the positive that we forget we have to address the dark side that exists in everything. If we are going to look for the light, we must accept the dark. The thing about duality is that it exists everywhere, and our human judgements are sometimes the only thing that makes one thing “good” and its opposite “bad”. So as a limitation to a deck, this is telling me not to get too cozy with the safety and support – doing the work that needs to be done isn’t necessarily going to be easy or glamorous or fun. So while we have lots of support and safe space to do it, let’s not forget that we have to be willing to expose our dark underbellies to the world in order to let this shit heal.

What do you have to teach me? 14 Balance (similar to Temperance in the traditional Tarot) Ah, yes. My lifelong struggle to create balance. I really feel as if this card is strongly related to the previous card – Shine – in that it’s going to be an exercise in letting my own light shine while remembering to stay humble, stay vulnerable. Creating that balance between light and dark, between my work life and my personal life, between caring for others and making sure that I take time to care for myself…this deck is here to teach me about balance. It’s here to teach me about all the ways in which I let myself get out of balance, and how to gently and kindly bring myself back. More importantly, it’s here to teach me to appreciate the concept of duality and work some more on that whole “good vs evil” and “light vs dark” thing that I struggle with.

How can I best learn and collaborate with you? 17 Heal (similar to The Star in the traditional Tarot) Ever known someone who didn’t want to heal or forgive? It’s not pretty. We hold on to our flaws and our grudges and our hurts because we can use them as weapons or to get special treatment. Sometimes known as “playing the victim”, I love the way Carolyn Myss asks people, “What do you gain by holding on to your old wounds?” Because really, we do gain from them – if someone is a survivor of anything – sexual assault, trauma, abuse, you name it – by wearing those wounds proudly like a badge, we get to use them as an excuse for our less-than-stellar behavior. I became painfully aware of my own victim mentality last fall, and how I was using it to excuse myself for not living up to my true potential. Once I was aware of that, it no longer became a valid reason for anything, and it was a real game-changer for me. Using this deck is not going to be easy if this is the best way I can learn and collaborate with it because forgiving myself and letting go of my wounds is never an easy thing to do, I don’t care who you are. It takes a great deal of self-awareness and an even greater deal of courage to put those wounds aside and remind yourself that you are not the things that hurt you. In order for me to get the most out of working with this deck, I’m going to have to continue to put all that old shit aside and be willing to hold myself accountable on all fronts. (*gulp*)

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? 16 Rebuild (similar to The Tower in the traditional Tarot) Holy hell. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more real with this deck, the last card I pull is the sister card to The Tower. Now, I’m one of those kuh-razy Tarot readers that luuuuuuurves The Tower. Maybe it’s because I feel most at home in the middle of outright chaos and I get nervous when things seem to be going too smoothly, but in my view, when a card like this comes up and tells me all hell is about to break loose, I think of it as a good thing. This card is calling for me to cut through the bullshit and pretty much reassemble all my beliefs and relationships that are holding me back. (I mean, it doesn’t say “bullshit” in the guidebook, but you get the idea.) Because, really, when shit just isn’t working for you, what would you rather do: repeat the same thing over and over and get frustrated and sick and angry, or would you rather dump that shit like radioactive trash and start over from scratch? I’m one of those people that loves to start over. I’m a firm believer in second chances (and maybe third and fourth chances, too), so for me to see that this is the potential outcome of my working relationship with this deck, I was over the fucking moon. Burn it all down! If it ain’t working, chuck it in the fuck it bucket and do something else! Seeing this card as the potential outcome in this spread just made me feel hopeful and determined. I’m just as capable of doing this work as anyone else, and now I know I have the right deck to give me the insight to do it.

Getting ready to plant some seeds for transformation in your own life? Email me and schedule a one-on-one Tarot reading just for you!