Keep Reaching: Star Poetry

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Today, The Star wanted to come out and play…

as a poem.

It feels like a good way to connect with this card, which always holds so much power and mystery for me.

DoubleStar

When you don’t know what else to do,

pour it all out.

Bound, trapped,

no way out but

overflowing.

The release of bondage

The contraction that births

The Star is

a safe word.

All of your containers cannot hold

your vision growing

the shining sky.

Do not try to hold it:

be held.

You are a body of water

learning the mysteries of river and sea.

I know you are tired of crying.

The Star is an asana.

The Star is a heart that keeps pumping.

The Star is kinky as fuck.

Breathe in:

inspire.

Blow palo santo smoke on your open palms

and keep reaching.

————-

TThe Particle Tarot's Star card by Dave McKean
The Particle Tarot’s Star card by Dave McKean

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

———-

There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. Photos in this post are attributed to Kaeti unless otherwise specified. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

The Empress & Multidimensional Femme Power

TarotTuesdayBannerOne of my favorite things about tarot is how, over the years of study and practice, each card accrues layers of meanings and association and strangeness and familiarity. Each image keeps teaching me newly, as I grow and change. Sometimes this is helpful in a reading, where a card kind of unfolds into myriad possibilities and you pluck out the most relevant one. But today I want to talk about how just one card, considered in this way, can create a kind of self-reflective practice that can teach you a lot about yourself and that growth and change we’re always doing.

Today, for me, that card is The Empress. Chalk it up to it being #womenshistorywomensmagic month, or International Womens’ Day this week and seeing a lot about that float through my social media, or my intensifying investigation into femme identity lately, or just the fact that The Empress showed up in my morning meditations and said,

sassyempressHanging out with Her in my head for a minute, I was amazed at the multidimensional map of my own changing relationship to The Empress and her psychic realm that just unfolded in that instant, like, *snap*

Now, I don’t have years of tarot journals like I do with my dreams but I do have a major-arcana-only deck I made long ago and far away as a project for an undergraduate class on history, fiction, and memory at Portland State. I know, those where the days. The Empress card that came outta that project was one of my favorites.

KaetisEmpressIt’s a simple collage: text from a passage of One Hundred Years of Solitude atop a photo of a Passionflower I’d taken a few years before in Costa Mesa. But it takes me back to the way I related to this card during those days. The traditional entry into this card of “motherhood” or “fertility” or “passivity” weren’t really accessible to me at all during those times. But what I did feel all around me was the vibrant, pulsing life of the earth and the rhythm of human community outside in the flesh and sparkling in books I devoured hungrily, this current ebbing and flowing around me, and a sense of femininity and sexuality as mysterious powers that existed both at the root and somehow outside of this bloodbeat flow. The world felt magical and dangerous and alive and sensual – and I had a hard time being “in my body,” as they say, but I touched embodiment by touching in with that flow, and THAT, for me, was The Empress.

Later, in more recent years, my whole relationship with the card has shifted into the realm more traditionally associated with it: motherhood. The process of conceiving, growing, nurturing, birthing, and caring – for a project, for a person, for oneself. Unraveling the very fraught relationship with motherhood bequeathed to us by culture and family. The ability to relax into a flow and let yourself be carried and nurtured by it, in turn. The sacred mystery of the matroyshka dolls of history, ancestry, and future generations. All these things have been my go-to understandings of The Empress most recently, and I adore The Collective Tarot‘s take on this card – called Reception – and how it holds all this for me.

2ReceptionThese days, The Empress is morphing again – She is teaching me new lessons, pointing me down paths in her forests that I’ve never traveled before. There are 2 images at work:

ChildEmpressI picked up this postcard on my recent travels, and it reminds me this morning that The Empress is also the natural law of the body, which can sometimes be so oppressive but also a source of childlike joy, confidence, power, and flight. She is the voice that cries out in wordless feeling, her smile sassy and knowing, her body in motion, the wind in her face, her bike beneath her, the blossoms of spring reaching down with promise.

Mostly though – and what really prompted this post, the first kernal – was how The Empress started talking to me about Femme-ness. About how we claim power by claiming fierce and vulnerable femininity on purpose. About having a refuge of comfort and validation in this when the dominant-culture world tells us that femme is weak, stupid, and less-than and never-enough – which is pretty much every day. About how femme-ness isn’t defined by body parts or literal fertility or sexuality or anything alone – but by our own complex relationship with The Empress and wherever we find her temple, be it in our own bodies or the vibrant world or the ocean or your best friend or your lover or your sister or on the radio or on the dance floor or on your yoga mat or where EVER you are today. I am having another big round of just learning about this, and today The Empress reminded me to dig into my collage archives, throw up some images and let that be a new permutation of her card to guide me in my exploration.

EmpressFemmeCollageNever underestimate the power of making your own images and doing your own naming.

And you can see how building your own images, or having different decks available, fosters this process of growing your own layers of meaning and associations with a card. This shows really brilliantly how archetypal imagery works – tapping into an experience or psychic realm that we all have access to, as human beings, and which we may use only one word for, but which we all must necessarily experience in unique and personally meaningful ways that are endless in their manifestations and permutations. I would love to hear about y’all’s experiences with The Empress and her imagery and her femme power, and what she means to you these days…

—-

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

———-

There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Hangin Out with The Fool & The Hanged Man

TarotTuesdayBannerHi friends!

I had a lovely time adventuring over my break – very much in the rambling fool spirit that Traci so lovingly wrote about here last week 🙂

DresdenWoods
A happy travellin’ fool!

For today’s draw, I pulled The Hanged Man in my trusty old Rider Waite Smith deck, and as I settled down to peruse Traci’s exploration of The Fool, I found myself considering the relationship between these two cards for the first time in probably years, maybe ever.

foolhangedmanThese seem like the same person! Both have a special relationship to space, gravity, and trust – hangin out, a moment of suspense. The Hanged Man is perhaps where we check in on the fool during her journey – she’s a little rougher around the edges, a little simpler, kinda travel-worn, a little less grand (but with the same penchant for leggings and tunics, which I fully support as a fashion choice).

If these cards talk about different kinds of transitional space, I like balancing The Fool’s externality against The Hanged Man’s internality. In the image of The Fool, the world is fixed and still as our foolish hero loftily spins and skips and crashes through it. In The Hanged Man, there is an outer stillness seems to anchor all kinds of inner movement. The Fool is about diving in and learning about intuition and inspiration on the go, suspending judgement. The Hanged Man today talks to me about what it looks like to have a practice of trusting that flow of intuition and inspiration, and to seek dedication into its inner mysteries by inhabiting a different kind of suspension.

FoolishHangedMan
A different kind of foolish Hanged Man I encountered on my travels…

For me, today, these cards are all about the joy of traveling and being out of my element – and then the joy of coming home and being back in my element, while still being upside down from those travels. It’s me, integrating all that I have learned and still aglow with the knowledge that the world is so much bigger than I can ever imagine, full of so much more than I could ever learn, and that it’s not my job to control it but just to be in it and let my intuition and sense of connection guide me. It’s taking a pause in this in-between space and not just jumping right back into routine, but valuing this space for the insight and perspective it brings. Even if that’s just enjoying how jet lag makes me wake up and enjoy the very early mornings which, when back in my usual routine, I never seem able to wake up for. Small moments of upside-down suspension in my otherwise-familiar world.

Maybe sometimes The Hanged Man is what The Fool looks like at home?

What do you think?

—-

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

Love Song to the 9 of Pentacles: The Secret Garden

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The 9 of Pentacles is one of my favorite cards. Every time it comes up, the sweetest blend of ease and delight and groundedness nestles into my heart. Just look at her here:

rws9pentacles
Rider Waite Smith’s 9 of Pentacles

Sweetly golden light. A secret garden of plenty. The walls themselves alive with growth, not entrapping but enriching – I imagine, providing safety and respite, a little queendom with everything I need. Solitude without isolation – the little bird of the soul flies freely within and without, bringing and sending news. The little snail slides over the earth, at its own pace, doing its thing, welcome too in its way. Sunset or sunrise, a time of taking stock and resting in one’s own intention, settling into one’s place, remembering connection with self and with world.

But a little bird says: how do we square this with the fact that 9s represent thresholds? A dear friend of mine likes to refer to the “crisis of the 9” – 9 as a gate, a challenge, a test…indeed, a crisis. There is no gate, no challenge here – is there?

Some answer to that question lies in the fact that this is card I drew on the day of my first big MFT exam last week – and immediately I felt the power of knowing I had everything I need to pass, but also the whispering challenge of this card and the secret of its test.

WU9ofDisks
The Wild Unknown’s 9 of Disks. Really, this is the card I drew on exam day – the wealth I have accrued and earned in my labors, nestled safely in soft feathers and here for me as I need it.

Another answer to that question lies in the song I played on repeat on my way to the exam, and which now seems to hold a special resonance with this card and its strange confluence of safety and crisis: My Brightest Diamond’s Dreaming Awake. Take a moment to take in this wonder:

What is the slowing-down place that keeps its voice against challenge?

What is the slowing-down place that keeps its heart amidst panic?

What is the slowing-down place that dreams while awake?

Now that I  sit with it, I feel like these questions have been in my life and my practice all week.

How do we keep to our principles and integrity and still participate in the awful world?

How do we hold on to ourselves in the face of unrelenting panic attacks and terror?

How do I stay in my power and the sacredness of my healing work while taking a grueling 4 hour exam that dissects and belittles me, my community, my work?

I keep thinking of the image of the cops invading the sacred space of that secret garden in the video. Suddenly, this card appears to me as a meditation, visual mantra, or energetic ally for those times when an intrusive and punishing force invades and threatens to sever connection to ourselves or our world. This could be the oppressive dynamics that hit us hard when we step out of the safety of our queer households and into the dominant overculture. This could be you, being in a dreamy and open and soft space and suddenly having to interact with someone angry and punishing, or overwhelmed with sensory input in a loud and busy place. This could be taking a walk on the beach to connect with nature and seeing all the trash, the oil wells, the giant ships packed with slave-labor goods, the polluted waters. This could be you minding your own business and suddenly having a flashback or panic attack, your mind spinning out of control.

Any of these scenarios offer the opportunity to learn to find your core…to breathe…to practice the delicate art of staying present in the face of pain…to slow down and draw strength from your secret garden, to remember the way back to yourself, to remember that you have a grounded and connected self to come back to at all.

All this is the crisis of the 9 of Pentacles, which teaches about the place where sacred and profane overlap.

I always used to think of this card as a garden, but now I see it more as an economy – a sacred or gift economy, oeconomy in the old sense of “the management of a household.” Indeed, some of the traditional meanings for this card include good luck, good management, inheritance, attention to detail, loving criticism, integrity and skill producing wealth, the flow of gain – all of which you might also glean from its astrological correspondence of Venus in Virgo.

Sacred or Gift Economy to me holds a connotation of flow, of giving with the understanding that the gift is always moving, that giving and receiving are parts of the same act and hold reciprocal value. This card is wealth without hoarding, sharing without shame. There is an understanding that while we may sometimes need to retreat and build fortresses to make it through the short-term, there is ultimately no extra safety in cutting off or hoarding or silencing: we must find our flow, and participate in the flow of which we are only a part – the tidal flow of community, of life force, of love and loss, in and out.

Last night, in the novel I’m reading, a girl assassin whispers these magic words in the language of her lost homeland and, in doing so, slays an immortal tyrant whose domination has oppressed everyone it touched for centuries:

The life that is shared goes on forever. The life that is hoarded never lives at all.

CT9ofBones
The Collective Tarot’s 9 of Bones

I see this in the Collective Tarot’s 9 of Bones too: the strong spine that connects heaven and earth. The fruits which fall between the worlds and which a clever forager collects in baskets and ride off to share with their community. How rootedness and connectedness and circulation are all part of the same phenomenon.

One of the first times these kinds of lessons started to occur to me was in 9th grade biology class, when I first heard the term semi-permeable membrane. I know, I’ve always been a nerd at heart. But the image and the idea collided in me with tremendous power, because deep inside I knew that this was a teaching image for me: there exists a thing whose function is to both protect its innards and allow flow between inner and outer. A boundary which protects but is also porous – which intrinsically knows what to let in and what to keep out, keeping fluid all the while. Like in a cell, or in an egg. I can breathe in and out, but you can’t invade and poison me.

semipermeable
Ladies and germs: I give you, Science!

I see the walls in the 9 of Pentacles like this. For me, it’s a powerful metaphor for how to stay safe and connected to my heart without retreating, charging, melting down or dissociating. Sometimes those things have to happen, too – and when they do, the image of the safe and secret garden gives gentle guidance back to my abundant self, helps me reground and get ready for the next round.

One last image of this card that I love:

motherpeace9disks
Motherpeace Tarot’s 9 of Disks

Here, I see an image of this lesson after many revolutions and evolutions of practice. A vision of gardens within gardens, wisdom and strength to find one’s place – in any place – and be in dialogue with the many worlds, the endless overlaps of body and mind, spirit and soul, wishes and fears, inner and outer, different parts of ourselves, different languages, different  communities. Out of this wisdom, a system of communication and reflection. A time-tested reliance on boundaries –  knowing that while boundaries are built and are relative, they nonetheless provide the safety and containment to open up and experience and learn and commune.

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

———-

There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

The Magician: A Magical Lunar Cycle Spread

TarotTuesdayBannerLet’s talk about magic.

1-magician-rider

When The Magician came up for today’s card, I had to grin: of course! Today’s a big magical New Moon, and new moons are generally a great time to play with tarot for divination, exploring thoughts or beliefs that no longer serve you and are ready to be released, planting new seeds of intentions, or making reflective space for new ideas to come to the surface. Today’s new moon in particular comes right on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius, as we straddle the boundary between the gravity of tradition that weighs on our bones and the electric future sparkling before our eyes. It’s also conjunct Circe, an epic magician adept at powerful magic in the service of self-care and transformation. Tomorrow, Mercury turns retrograde, which deepens the pull to slow down and turn our gaze inward. Time for tarot, meditation, or journaling during this window promises to yield some pretty powerful and useful insights.

The Magician asks us to take advantage of this opportunity. The Magician is all about taking our awareness of cycles, patterns, environment, and energy and introducing our will, our hopes and desires, into the mix. The Magician reminds us that we can not just notice all these things, but take action and participate!

MoonFabric
Attribution disappeared into the internet – if you recognize this image, let us know ❤

Here’s a spread you can use to explore the opportunities this period holds for you. It follows through the lunar cycle as it interacts with Mercury for the month – because what better structure to follow for magic-making reflection than the dance of the moon’s own rhythm with the hermetic magician himself? You can lay it all out at once, or pull cards for each part of the cycle as we move through it – or both!

1TheVision0° Aquarius New Moon + Circe (Jan 20): The Vision.

How am being called to evolve beyond my traditional or habitual boundaries? How does this image illustrate possibilities for serving my community, in a way that actually meets my needs and serves me too? What intention can I set to participate mindfully and heartfully in this magic?

2TheKnotMercury Retrograde 1° Aquarius (Jan 21): The Knot.

Where is the Trickster drawing my attention? What kink is being unraveled in the service of this magic? What needs to be lost or released in this process?

3TheGardenWaxing Quarter 0° Taurus (Jan 26): The Garden.

How do I meet my intention in the sensual world? How can I enjoy myself and find pleasure in this process? How can I get creative with this magic?

4TheRoaringHeartFull Moon 14° Leo (Feb 3): The Roaring Heart!

This is where your intention for this cycle finds full expression. How does the card you pull here reflect an image of your own power? Are you aligned with your own power? Do you feel overwhelmed or disempowered? What do you need to express out loud?

5TheUnexpectedLessonMercury Direct 17° Aquarius (Feb 11): The Unexpected Lesson.

How does this shift your intention, moving forward? How can you adjust to weave this into your ongoing magic?

6ThePurgeWaning Quarter 23° Scorpio (Feb 11): The Purge.

What has surfaced in this cycle that you no longer wish to house within yourself? What can you do to shed these elements and make fertile room for new growth?

7Renewal29° Aquarius New Moon (Feb. 18): Renewal.

An image that reflects your dedication to honoring yourself as a part of your beloved community. Rinse yourself clean after the lessons of the last cycle, and know that you are devoted to your own process of evolution, whatever your journey is. What is your vision, moving forward from here?

Blessings on your magic-making endeavors!

—-

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

That Tricky 7 of Swords

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I’ve used tarot for a lot of things over the years. And I know I’m excited to have some space to write about tarot and share some of those stories here. But I find myself wondering: how to start?

This is actually how I use tarot most these days. These are not my days of fancy spreads that take over the table, or deep extended esoteric study piling up across the living room floor. Moving through my day, in the flow of it, coming across a random question and doing a quick draw to address it – to shift the energy, to take a breath, to bring some playfulness and perspective in – this is the bones of my practice lately. The cards are like neighbors who drop in for a spot of tea and gossip, sharing their view from just around the corner. They have familiar personalities and penchants, but sometimes pop over in unexpected ways.

So, how to begin? What are we up to here with Tarot Tuesdays?

7 of Swords from the Rider Waite Smith deck.
7 of Swords from the Rider Waite Smith deck.

Oof! Talk about unexpected. This fellow is the neighbor who just shows up, at the back door, with odd timing and who you can’t quite say you like, and who can sometimes be quite demanding to deal with, yet who just as often brings such rare gifts, ideas, assistance or laughs that you’re glad he’s around – and glad when you seem to be on his good side, too.

I think of this card as how Trickster shows up in everyday life – particularly in our life of the mind, how we think. When your thoughts run crafty or cunning. When you need to get out of a spot. When a little sleight of hand goes a long way. When you see the flaw in the matrix, the gap in the armor, the way around the impasse. When you use reason and logic as tools, and can see the world beyond them, rather than being caught in their blinders. When you flirt with deceit. These are 7 of Swords moments.

I have heard this guy described not just as a trickster, but as a shape-shifter. In the RWS deck, he’s the only one with those fancy fur-trimmed cap-n-boots. Sneaking around on the outskirts of the camp, on the border between wild and civilized life, he’s in some other kind of relationship with The Animal. But also with the thinking mind – these are swords being put to some other use than battle. That outfit might also mark him as himself other, from another the tribe.

This speaks a lot to me about my relationship with tarot. It brings something in from the outside, another perspective, something that feels wild and other while at the same time familiar and thoughtful – which is always kind of a gamble, where you may not get what you’re looking for at all. We all have those experiences of drawing a card and going “WTF no, lemme pull another.” In fact, this touches how I believe tarot even “works:” by giving our usual daily-ego-minds a way to step aside and get in touch with the random – with chaos, synchronicity, and the wyrd. To practice not giving into that “wtf, no” but sitting with what’s on the other side of that reaction and listening for its perspective. Letting that perspective inform our own. Looking for reflections.

What an excellent place to begin – with this unexpected encounter with the tricky edges of ourselves and our usual campsites. And with the reminder to examine our thoughts once in a while, to sneak outside their usual flow and not be so ruled by what seems like the cold, hard steel of civilized logic. And a lovely anchor for our explorations here – let’s continue to expect the unexpected!

Cheers,

Kaeti

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.