I’m still working my way through Evvie Marin’s fantastic ebook, Eight Useful Tarot Spreads for Times of Resistance and Change. Today I’m taking the Project Kindling Spread out for a spin!
I’ve been holding off on this spread because I’ve been getting some ducks in a row. Fox and Owl Tarot launches officially – official official! – next weekend. I’m going to open up the shop and start offering readings professionally.
This has meant some behind-the-scenes technical work, and some behind-the-scenes shadow work. (I really love Northern Light Witch‘s Shadow Work Spell Kit, and highly recommend it. I’ll be posting a review, with some snippets from the work I’ve done over this last while, next week.)
I needed to figure out how I feel about money, and about tarot, and about bringing the two together in this way. I needed to figure out how tarot fits in with my other work, because in my non-tarot life, I’m a narrative therapist and I believe deeply the narrative practice of decentring the practitioner and bringing people fully into the centre of their own story. If I believe, and I do, that “you are the expert in your own experience,” then how does tarot fit with that? (It fits beautifully, I think! But I just really had to sit with that for a while and make sure I was fully grounded in my ethics and my focus as I get ready for this launch.)
But this evening, I finally let myself try out this spread!
Focusing on Fox and Owl Tarot as the project I am kindling, I got a reading that is strongly influenced by the work I’ve been doing over the last week and a bit.
Image description: A spread from the Steampunk Tarot deck, with King of Pentacles, Ten of Swords, and Seven of Cups at the centre, The Sun to the left, The Tower to the right, Page of Cups below, and Queen of Pentacles above.
Cards 1, 2, 3 – The sparks: King of Pentacles, Ten of Swords, Seven of Cups. There are the elements that will spark the project into life.
I laughed when I saw the Ten of Swords. It’s true, I am an Eeyore. I bring my despair and my outrage at the injustices so common in our world into this work. I reallly appreciated uncaged-tarot’s recent thread about social justice in tarot, and when I saw this ten, that’s what immediately came to mind. Exhaustion at the many cuts that marginalized communities face. Existential dread. Even a bit of melodrama. But this is not a negative in this context. This is a spark! This is the sharp awareness of injustice and the crushing effects of the kyriarchy on the people I work with.
The Seven of Cups made me pause and think. In this card, I see my indecision, my daydreaming self, my pie-in-the-sky imaginings of what Fox and Owl might end up being. For a moment, I felt myself sinking into judgement and discouragement, but then I thought about how daydreams are beautiful when the spark action. In the moment of imagining so many potential outcomes – will Fox and Owl take off and become a major part of my work life? Amazing! Will I write a book about narrative therapy and tarot? Maybe! Will I develop an entire tightly connected community of fellow Social Justice Mages? I hope so! – and I thought, fuck the judgement. These daydreams are perfect, and they are sparking this project. When they burn down over time, I’ll be left with the glowing coal of whatever lasted. The heart of this will stay, and in the meantime, the daydreams are perfect kindling.
And then the King of Pentacles. I struggle with the King cards in most decks – I am working on a series of posts about how the Next World Tarot queers the kings and gave me my first truly comfortable engagement with that energy. I have found Siobhan’s post on Little Red Tarot about the Kings incredibly helpful, and I came back to it in interpreting this card. Given my interpretation of the Ten of Swords – that this work calls me to be conscious of the cuts and exhaustion of living under marginalization – the presence of a King (with all the privilege that is brought in there) challenges me to be present with balance, to honour my own intuition and wisdom, to be grounded in my own practice just as much as I centre the wisdom and knowledge of the person I am reading for. Sioban writes, “Power is a practice, a pose, a reciprocal biochemical signature that we can share with other humans or experience alone; it’s a privilege that we’ve taken for granted (and which we can use for good). Work with it. Acknowledge its misuse and, also, reclaim it.” I can bring this power into my work. And, in fact, I must bring that power into my work, or the spark won’t kindle into flame.
Card 4, Internal influences: The Sun.
What do I bring to the table? A fuckton of energy, is what. Joyful energy. Generative energy. Hot, bright, Leo Sun energy. I don’t associate myself with The Sun (or with my Leo sign) very often. I feel more Moon, more Cancer-rising. More dark, more watery, more gloom – there is a reason my alter ego is the Gloom Fairy. But there are moments when I know the fire in myself, and I know that this card is accurate. This project was deeply influenced by my energy, my desire to create and to be part of nurturing growth. I bring that fire to this project.
Card 5, External influences: The Tower.
Just like the Ten of Swords, when I flipped this card I immediately laughed in recognition. Fox and Owl Tarot is the product of a few things, one of which was a friend identifying a lack of queer, trans, and polyamory-friendly tarot readers in Calgary. But it is also the product of my ongoing search for ways to participate as a healer and support for people as we go through this calamitous time. Climate change, global economic and political turmoil, the resurgence of overt fascism… These are Tower times, and that external context is a huge influence in how I view this project and what I want to bring to my readings.
Card 6 and 7, Let go of and Move towards: Page of Cups and Queen of Pentacles.
These two cards came out together, so I am reading them as interchangeable in these positions. I think they both have insight to offer in both positions.
Page as card 6 – I’m not a newbie to the cards. This is not the beginning of my journey. I have a strong connection to my cards and to the practice of tarot, and to my narrative practice and my work as a community organizer. I can let go of my imposter syndrome and my anxiety that I don’t have anything worthwhile to offer yet.
Page as card 7 – I will always be a student of the cards. There is always more to learn, and embracing that fact and moving towards it will be a benefit to my work with Fox and Owl Tarot.
Queen as card 6 – Don’t worry so much about the money. I struggle under capitalism, especially right now with the costs of grad school and the challenges of launching my counselling business. I am constantly stressed about money. In this position, I see the Queen of Pentacles as an invitation to let go of some of that stress when it comes to Fox and Owl, and to just let the work evolve how it evolves.
Queen as card 7 – Move towards valuing my work. Recognize that my work with tarot is work and that it does have value. Don’t be afraid of bringing money into an interaction, especially if I maintain my commitment to sliding scale and accessibility. (This has been a bit focus of my shadow work – money shame and anxiety! I am actually putting together a zine on this topic, so if you’re interested in participating, let me know!)
I really loved this spread! The cards challenged me to think, connect to my stories of myself and my hopes for this project, and tie into the wisdom that already exists in the tarot community.
I feel hopeful, optimistic, and ready to launch.