A Mindful Daily Practice
We’ve all heard the expression “practice makes perfect”. Whatever it is we try to master, the more we do it, the better at doing it we become.
When we are young, we are often required to practice at a musical instrument or a sport. Sometimes, as adults, we feel we don’t have the time to “waste” on something that seems so frivolous.
The truth is, having a daily practice, be it creative, practical or spiritual, has many benefits, even beyond perfecting a skill.
When we take a few moments out of our day to exercise, to meditate, to study or to play, we are honoring our commitment to growth, and our commitment to a fuller life.
When we discipline ourselves to learn something new, or to perfect a skill, we are both mindful in the moment, and investing in our future.
Sometimes, committing to a daily practice, even a simple one, causes anxiety and shame when we aren’t always able to fulfill that commitment to ourselves. That’s where mindfulness comes in.
A daily practice offers us the ability to take time every day to be in the moment with something that is important to us. If we have to skip a day, we need to stay in the moment, without guilt or regret. Our daily intention will translate into something we do most days, and that has to be good enough.
Sometimes, even taking a moment to think about and visualize our practice, even if we don’t have the opportunity to actually engage in it on a specific day, will keep our commitment strong and keep us grounded in that important energy of mindful practice.
The COTD: An Easy Daily Tarot Practice
I’ve been considering that my tarot practice is much more than my tarot business. My tarot practice is a daily commitment to growth and healing.
A daily tarot practice is easy, and is something anyone with a tarot deck can develop, whether you are a brand-new beginner or a seasoned pro.
One of the easiest daily tarot practices to master is the Card of the Day, or COTD.
If you are a new student, you can use this practice to actually learn the cards. If you know the cards well, you can use this practice to connect with the energy of a particular card each day, and let that card support and inform your day.
Simply choose a time of day (usually in the morning or evening) to pull one card. You can write about it or you can meditate on it, or just think about it.
Don’t think of it as predictive, as much as instructive.
How is this card currently present in your life?
Do you want it to be present it your life, or is this an energy you need to mitigate?
What advice does this card give you for the day?
Taking a few moments every day to be mindful with tarot will give insight and grounding, and will sharpen your tarot skills!
From My Desk to Yours
Last week, I got to see the premiere of Star Trek Beyond! I shared my thoughts on my Dark Forest Blog.
On my Community Blog, and with a YouTube video, I answered a question about why you might not want to do a tarot reading.
On my Personal Blog, I shared something I learned about sales and marketing when I was selling flowers on the streets of New Haven. It’s called, “Let the Flowers Sell Themselves”.
From Around the Web
So many of my friends join me in loving the ukulele. So, this is for you. It’s Stewart’s Ukulele Songbook! You’re welcome.
The Smithsonian wrote about divination!
From The New Yorker, here is some Advice for Young Writers. I think this works for writers of any age!
Song of the Week
Here’s Buddy Holly’s “Every Day”, with some rare footage of him and his band.
Connecticut, TarotCon, West Palm Beach and FPG
My next few months will be very busy. Please know that, where ever I am, I have the time and ability to do a phone reading for you, so never hesitate to reach out for an appointment.
Early next week, I fly to Connecticut for two weeks. I’ll be doing house parties throughout Connecticut, and in surrounding states. I will also be doing private readings at True Bikram Yoga in Madison. To schedule your hour or half hour, call or text 561-655-1160.
TarotCon is fast approaching, and the line-up of speakers is phenomenal! Michael Bridge-Dickson, who has been contributing a column to this newsletter, will be presenting, along with Lisa Hunt, Geraldine Amaral, Alice Smeets, Michael M. Hughes, Steph Engert, Nora Huszka, Marcy Currier, Angelo Nasios and more.
We’ll have plenty of vendors, and some very special activities for our Saturday evening poolside banquet.
There is still time to register, so do it now. Remember, too, that I, along with Jenna Matlin, Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin, will be presenting a special professional development day on the Friday prior to TarotCon.
West Palm Beach
I’ll be in West Palm Beach from October 14 to October 23. During that time, I will be teaching classes, performing a psychic gallery and doing some private readings in Pearl’s room at Unity Church in the Pines.
I’ll also be booking private readings in my hotel suite, and booking house parties throughout South Florida. If you would like to reserve your time now, call or text 561-655 1160. Stay tuned for information about classes and gatherings during that time!
I’ve been asked to be one of the headliners at FPG this November. I’ll also be reading tarot in the vending area. FPG is one of the best and longest running festivals in the country, so don’t miss it!
I’m grateful to everyone who have helped to make all these wonderful things possible in my life, and hope these events make it possible for me to see you soon!
with Michael Bridge-Dickson
Breaking Town Tarot's Elements
Part 6 - Water
From the burning, transformative efforts of Fire, we turn to the soothing sensitivity of Water. In contrast to the sharp, consuming radiation of Fire, Water is soft, receptive, and giving. Both have transformative qualities, with equal capacity for destruction and creation. But where Fire is light, releasing heat as it consumes, Water is heavy and absorbs heat. Directionally, Fire spreads from its source, never turning back; whereas Water ebbs and flows, constantly pushing forward and receding.
Where Fire related to our efforts and actions, which are essentially irreversible, Water relates to our sensations, feelings, and emotions, which are perpetually in flux. Water also relates to “the Waters of our minds” the deeper, usually sub- or unconscious parts of the mind that are dark and mysterious.
The relationship between our sensations and the recesses of our minds is not a distant one, but before we dive into the depths of the mysterious unconscious, let’s wade into the realm of sensation, feeling, and emotion — words that are often used interchangeably, but I feel there is a difference between these layers, and it’s useful to make that differentiation
Sensations are essentially neutral — they are just that: sensations. Water’s receptive quality is exhibited through sensation: we are constantly receiving feedback through each of our senses, and not just touch. Despite this constant receptivity, not all sensations are registered at the conscious level, but we’ll look at that in a moment.
Feelings are our response to sensation, where our system sorts the feedback received through the senses as being relevant or irrelevant, pleasurable or painful, safe or dangerous. These responses leave their trace, in the same way that Water marks where it has been. Again, our responses to sensation — our feelings — are not always registered consciously, but are nonetheless stored by our system, akin to Water absorbing solubles.
Emotions are what we label our feelings, how we attempt to process our responses to feelings and make sense of them, especially when they are contradictory. Emotions are where the complexity of our experiences plays out, and being further removed from direct sensation, they are often confusing and mysterious to the conscious mind, often requiring calm reflection such as in meditation and dream states, where the conscious mind is more passive. Emotions are also where we outwardly show our reactions to sensation and feeling, how we express those feelings.
We often like to think that our actions are ruled by the conscious mind, that everything we do is a result of cognitive thought. But the source of our actions and even our thoughts both before and after action have their source in sensations, which are then mediated by the subconscious before becoming conscious thought or performed actions. Nearly everything we do and think is a response to sensation — but socialization complicates these responses, at all levels.
From very early on, we are taught that certain sensations are acceptable, and others are not. This stretches well beyond simply right or wrong, but is mired in social complexity. Pleasurable sensations are not always favored, and are often covered over with externally imposed emotions, while painful sensations are avoided and suppressed. Some of us learn that we should feel guilt, shame, or jealousy when we experience joy; and we are often taught that pain and sorrow should neither be felt nor expressed.
Like Water releasing what it has absorbed, how we express emotion is based on what we’ve been exposed to, the ways we’ve experienced others responding to their own sensations, feelings, and emotions. This is seen as part of our development in becoming “emotionally mature,” and while managing our expression of emotion is absolutely crucial both individually and socially, the result is often far more confused and not at all what we later come to know as actual “maturity.”
In the process, we often lose touch with the root of emotion and its expression: direct sensation. We cease to acknowledge sensation as it happens, suppressing or even repressing our natural capacity to feel: we turn ourselves off, not only from “negative” emotions, but positive ones as well. This causes numbness; the dull experience of depression, where nothing is felt, nothing is interesting, nothing but apathy is expressed. We may then seek out perpetually more extreme sensations, just to feel something — and this can often lead to destructive behaviour as the need for sensation intensifies.
At the opposite extreme of emotional expression, we can become so overwhelmed with sensations that we cannot process them effectively; every sensation is magnified like the lensing effect of a Water droplet amplifying the veins of a leaf.
Either way, we store these sensations along with the feelings and emotions tied to them in the abyss of our sub-and un-conscious minds. The mysteries of our murky depths become frightening and alien, explored in strange dreams and nightmares that disturb the recouperative sleep states. Often, this material is so dark and unfamiliar that this natural system of dreaming does not bring unconscious material to light, and instead we get recurring dreams that aren’t even remembered — just the sleepless nights these dreams caused.
Our ability to experience these sensations without expression or repression, to let them flow over us is directly related to our ability to express emotions healthily. In the same way that Water reflects, refracts, and distorts light, our emotions distort our memories. The degree is dependent upon the clarity of our emotional state to begin with — the clearer and calm the Water, the less distortion and sharper the reflection; the murkier and disturbed the Water, the more refracted the reflection.
It’s this natural quality of Water to refract and distort that prevents us from being completely objective. No matter what, our memories are colored by our emotions — not only those at the time of any given event, but also those tied to any and all details within and leading up to each event, not to mention our projections about where events are headed.
Because our bodies are between 50-70% Water, depending on our body type, tissue density, age, sex, fitness level, and climate, how we process our emotions is also directly related to the physical presence of Water within us. When the Water Element is dense, like ice, we become cold, unfeeling, hardened, and unable to let emotions flow in and out of us. At the same time, when our bodies are too soft, we can become oversensitive, and erratically emotional, like a turbulent sea tossing us from one stormy state to the next. And, when Water is lacking, when we are dehydrated, we can become stiff, and bitter, grasping on to any and all feelings, no matter how dry in an attempt to conserve Water.
As we become more adept at processing our emotions, though, the best qualities of Water emerge. Our ability to adapt, to go with the flow of life increases. We are more able to absorb and experience difficult sensations, feelings, and emotions without drowning in them. We also become more loving and nurturing, not only supporting our own life force, but that of others around us — we become buoyant, floating on a seemingly endless emotional reservoir whose bottom we may never know.
The mysterious depths of the mind become navigable, and fear of the unknown turns to curiosity, in the same way that Water seeps into every crack and crevice. We are free to explore life and our experiences.
The key to this is to return to sensation. Whenever possible, and as often as possible, acknowledge the sensations of everyday experience as you navigate through your own world. Recognize the temperature, texture, weight, intensity, taste, sounds, color, shape, and smell of the things around you, the things touching you. Develop as much subtlety as possible, no sensation too mild to be felt, none too intense to fully experience, and no range from mild to intense so wide that you cannot appreciate each degree in between.
Watch throughout each day as sensations, along with their feelings and emotions, rise and fall, ebb and flow. Let each sensation wash over you, gathering debris and then releasing out. Notice when and where you do not fully feel your sensations, either by cutting yourself off from them or by expressing so quickly that the ability to contain sensation does not allow you time to feel.
In this process of observing sensation, assign a number to each one in a scale of intensity from 1 to 10 (or even 0 to 10 if you prefer). Be as precise as possible, using decimals as necessary, and then round the number up or down as you see fit. See what happens to each sensation as you attempt to assign a precise number and also see what happens when you round the number. Just like Water, the sensation will not want to be pinned down so precisely; but also like Water, the sensation will adapt as you round up or down.
Don’t be concerned about being right or wrong, but instead be as true as possible to your experience: one person’s 8.6 will be another’s 10, while yet another’s will be more like a 4.2 — each is equally valid, but subjective. The more you practice this exercise, the more objective it will become.
To increase this precision, at the end of each day, see what range the sensations fell into. Some days will be in the lower range, others in the high range or middle. Some days will have extreme highs and lows, whereas others will have more moderate ranges. Then, within each range, shift your perspective temporarily and stretch the range to span 1 to 10 so that each day, no matter how mild or intense, no matter how calm or erratic, can be expressed as a full range. This stretching of the sensation range can be very helpful if you find you are not already experiencing a wide range of sensation, especially if that limited range seems to stay the same.
From there, to develop even more sensitivity, shift perspectives again and note what the overall degree of sensations was to find a relative average. This is actually narrowing the range, and is particularly helpful if every day vacillates drastically from stormy sea to smooth sailing, from violent hurricane to smooth ripples, and from downpour to light drizzle.
In widening and narrowing the range that you experience sensations in, you are opening up your ability to feel those sensations, while at the same time gaining just enough perspective to reflect on the accompanying feelings and emotions. You will start to see how, from moment to moment, day to day, month to month, and beyond, the field of sensations is a tide that swells and retreats. and you’ll start to feel how each sensation flows from one to the next.
This full experience of sensation leads to one of the most profound qualities of Water: intuition. As you feel and experience subtle sensations more fully and consciously, and as you develop the capacity to experience intensity without disturbance, all of the sensations that are normally registered and stored away subconsciously rise to to the surface, and can be seen with little to no distortion. Without distortion, this clarity reveals more and more of the subtle realm, leading to intuitive insights and removing the mystery that clouds perception.
Relate this directly to your tarot practice, too. When reading Water cards, notice not only the intensity of the cards themselves, but the degree of transition between them. As we did for the Elements of Air and Fire, take just your Water cards or Cups from your deck, and again for now, just the pips from Ace to Ten. Shuffle them and lay out as many as you like, at least two and up to all ten.
See the patterns of flow from one card to the next, and see them as a wave rising and falling. Note how drastic some transitions are and how mild others are, and even if the wave does not relate to your current experience, recall a time when the events of your life mirrored this wave pattern. It may be helpful to arrange them as a wave.
This example shows an emotional flow that is steadily building, starting with a pretty mild intensity, jumping up and then settling slightly, and then rising until it breaks drastically from the Ten to the Ace. Normally, both the Ace and the Ten are seen as “good” cards, nourishing, abundant, complete — together, they could indicate a movement from fulfillment to purity. Seen as a wave though, this could be a bit of a crash, going from emotional overwhelm to lacking sensation, a backlog of complex emotion to a release of clarity, or any number of other emotional extremes. This large wave then ripples out again, trying to find equilibrium, but is still undulating in reaction to that drastic change... and building up momentum again!
Tying this in to our differentiation between sensation, feeling, and emotion, we can look more simply at a three-card spread for each of these watery layers. We could even incorporate reversals to signify whether they are conscious (upright) or unconscious (reversed). Initially, just look at the intensity, the details can be filled in later.
Sensation: A manageable, reasonably intense sensation or set of sensations that is registered consciously and seems stable. Nothing to indicate danger, maybe even a sensation of safety, warmth, and ease. It is steady, and may even be consciously familiar
Feeling: The conscious familiarity with this set of sensations makes the feelings about it more unconscious, but those feelings are building. There’s something about the sensation that the person is developing stronger feelings about, but is not acknowledging. Again, these could be positive or negative feelings, but the reaction is more intense than the level of sensation itself. The interiorization may be socially driven.
Emotion: Not acknowledging the intensifying feelings about the initial sensation is leading to more emotional confusion. This mix of emotions, though conscious, are also isolating — those unconscious feelings affect social interactions.
This person may feel lonely, but doesn’t know why. The emotional intensity is high, even though the sensory intensity is moderate.
Incidentally, I drew the Three of Water upright as a possible resolution: compromise. Consciously reduce the intensity of the initial sensation through some gentle movement — walking outside if possible, lessen some of the sense of security afforded by the home.
Explore the social aspect of the repressed feelings through mild social interaction. No big parties or busy events, just a small gathering — again, outside of the home if possible. Manage the emotional intensity by seeing that the emotional reaction is thrice what it needs to be.
Take a wade into the Water, swim, splash, and even dive into it. Near the bottom and on the shores, we will rest next week in Earth.
Find Michael Bridge Dickson and the Orbifold Tarot online, and meet him in person at TarotCon Florida 2016!
Image from Crystal Vision Tarot by Jennifer Galasso
Your One-Card Weekly Reading
Ten of Wands
Your one-card reading is the Ten of Wands.
Often, we see this card as an expression of the burdens we are carrying.
This week, think about your emotional baggage, your sense of responsibility and your daily tasks.
Is there something that is overwhelming you?
Do you feel that you are carrying too much?
Or, do you feel that you are doing what you must do?
If your burdens are emotional, from past hurts, it’s time to put them down.
If your burdens are causes by doing for others who aren’t doing for you, it’s time to let them go.
If your burdens are a difficult part of a necessary path, embrace them, and know that you have the strength to do what you must, and that this path will lead you to your success.
July 25th - August 5th
The Spiritual Path of Tarot Telesummit 3 - Tarot Wisdom
There's still time to sign up now to participate in this amazing opportunity to explore tarot, for free!
August 3 - August 17
Parties and Readings Available in Connecticut
Call or text 561-655-1160 to schedule your private reading with me in Madison, CT. My party schedule is quite full, but if you are interested in a last-minute gathering, let me know and I will see what I can do!
August 7, 7pm
Deep Soul Meditation
True Bikram Yoga
1347 Boston Post Rd #201, Madison, CT 06443
Join us for an evening of growth and healing! Using relaxing guided imagery, Christiana will take you on a journey of healing with three specific phases.
Phase One will work with the seven chakras. One by one, you will be guided to release all that does not serve you from each chakra. From there, you will activate each chakra, bringing you to a place of well-being, peace and motivation.
Phase Two is a journey into your soul’s past. In this deep state of meditation, Christiana will help you unlock your soul’s memories of past lives. As you understand your soul’s past, you will more easily understand your current situations and motivations, and be able to release past trauma.
In Phase Three you will look to the future. Using the healing and understanding that has come from the first two meditations, you will be able to clearly focus your vision on creating your best possible future. This technique of creative visualization is designed to help you set and reach goals, attracting into your life the people and situations that will create the best possible future for you.
Call or text 561-6554-1160 to reserve your seat. Class fee: $30.
TarotCon (Florida) 2016 will take place October 8th and 9th, with a special Professional Development Day on the 7th, in Palm Beach Gardens. Make your reservations now!
Origins Spa and Wellness Center
1537 N Dale Mabry Highway #102
Lutz, FL 33548
Private telephone, Skype and in person readings and instruction are available by appointment.
Tarot parties at your home or office are available throughout Florida.
Call 813-948-4488, toll free 866-99TAROT,
or text or call 561-655-1160
for more information or to schedule your event.
Agent inquiries are welcome.