soy candles & spices & introspection, finally

recently i’ve found myself looking for meaning. for rituals. for something to tether myself to the world. i’ve been all over the place recently – and i may say that every week but it feels even more so now, especially since my work partner, my senior copywriter a, is leaving.

on one hand, i’m happy because she’ll finally be happy. a has been burnt out since i joined – barely six months into my stay, i remember leaving the office and retreating into an alcove with her while she cried and cried about how unappreciated she felt. i’m so tired, she said. now that she’s finally leaving, i swear there’s a spring in her step that wasn’t there before. and while i’m happy for her, i’m afraid for me, too. i wasn’t ready for her to leave one and a half years ago. i still am not. or maybe i am.


i haven’t made time for tarot recently. i’m scared i may be bored of it – but i still find it so interesting! i think it’s just that i made it the most important part of my life for a month or two, then became embarrassed to talk about it, especially since i don’t bring it up – it’s my art director who does, since she introduced me to it!

but i need this centering tonight. and while i’m bored with the waite smith deck – i’ve been waiting for the steampunk tarot and the wild unknown! haha – i need to write about this.

i’ll be doing a spread by the ace of stars tarot. it’s called where do i go from here. it sounds right. i’ve lit a candle. breathe.



Continue reading “soy candles & spices & introspection, finally”


‘Round and ’round it goes

Hi, tarot journal.

Sometimes life hits you with a backhanded slap on the first day of work. You know the type — you start the day ready to face whatever the client will throw at you, get through your first few job orders, then you receive an email with the subject line URGENT EVALUATION REQUEST. You click, and the message appears: “Hi, Vera. I need you to urgently complete this evaluation and send it back to me by Friday…”

For your mentee.

Because they want him gone.

It’s only Tuesday but it feels like a whirlwind of a week. Not that this issue has taken up the entirety of the past few days — and honestly, I’ve known it was coming — but, well, it’s been a lot for him to take in. He feels heavy and discouraged and I don’t blame him at all. But I keep telling him that it isn’t the end of the world, that life goes on. Which is what the advice I got from the Wheel of Fortune card I drew when consulting the tarot yesterday.

Considering this — and the fact that I’ve spent tonight and last night talking him through this event — I guess it isn’t a surprise that I’ve been saving my energy for the world offline. For the past two days, I’ve awoken, taken a bath, meditated and journaled my Daily Draw while air-drying my hair, then headed off to change and drive to work. I guess it makes learning the tarot more personal. A part of my Quiet Time, as it should be. But it’s become more solitary, too.

He’s handing in his resignation notice tomorrow. I’m just thinking out loud. I’ll probably listen to Kayleigh’s Pisces 2016 tarot forecast and head to bed. G’night. x

Open your eyes to the Four of Cups

This is the third time in a row, at the very least, that I’ve drawn a card that I used before for a Daily Draw. Is the Universe trying to tell me something? That I should understand the cards before using them in my own readings? Haha!

The Four of Cups shows a man in deep thought beneath a tree in summer, contemplating three Cups in front of him. However, he’s so intent on the Cups before him that he doesn’t notice the fourth Cup being handed to him — the opportunities he’s being presented with.

The Four of Cups represents self-absorption, thinking in circles, and overthinking. It’s being so preoccupied by the earthly world or your current situation that you turn a blind eye to opportunities and potential.

Reversed, the Four of Cups represents finding your way out of a period of apathy or depression; slowly beginning to open yourself up to opportunities again; and using what you’ve learned through introspection in real life.

Actions to Take

When I see this card, it’s time for me to look up, see the Cup that’s being offered to me, and reengage with the world. Because one of my weaknesses is being too introverted. I rarely need to reminded of the fact that I need Me Time!

What I do need to remember is that there’s a world beyond me. And that world is as important as the world within… and it can be just as amazing if you give it the chance.

Daily draw for January 3, Sunday, drawn at 9:00AM.

Breaking free from the Eight of Swords

Today I drew the Eight of Swords. It shows a woman in red, on a muddy clay wasteland. She’s blindfolded, bound in rope, and surrounded by swords. Behind her is a river and beyond that is a castle on a hill. Is she a damsel in distress? Or simply a woman taken from where she feels most at home?

The Eight of Swords represents feeling trapped. Imprisoned by a fence of swords, blindfolded, and bound, she can’t even leave the place where she’s been trapped for hours, maybe even days. She knows that they’re surrounding her but doesn’t know how many there are; perhaps she collided into some swords in her first attempt at escaping but doesn’t want to risk getting cut on the blades again. So she isn’t testing her boundaries. Playing it safe, as it were.

But at the same time, I’ve noticed that her ropes have loosened, and she seems close to breaking free. Soon she can reach up, remove the blindfold, and finally see again. She’s moments away from freedom!

That said, I feel like the Eight of Swords is about being trapped in a hopeless situation — on the surface. That’s certainly what I thought the first time I saw it.

But what I’ve seen since is that it represents opening one’s eyes to the truth, regaining control of a desperate situation, and breaking free. And honestly,  I like making positive readings for what look like negative cards. Can I do this more often?

Daily draw for January 2, Saturday, drawn at 9:00AM.

The grief of the Five of Cups


The Five of Cups used to give me a sense of foreboding. A long dark figure with his head bowed, three Cups overturned on the road before him, the Five of Cups is a universal expression of grief.

The Five of Cups is about being so upset or devastated by loss that you think it’s the end of you — not realizing that you can start again, lighter and freer.

Bunning says,

The Five of Cups refers to that time when the pain of a loss is most acute. This man is looking only at the overturned cups in front of him. For now, he cannot acknowledge the two cups that are still standing. Later, when he has healed somewhat, he will be able to see all that remains.

Reversed, the Five of Cups is about

  • Recovering from the past, not letting it linger in your mind as it so obviously could
  • Appreciating lessons learned, and learning to go on again

But it could also mean

  • Being trapped in the past
  • Not wanting to let go of the past (or using it as an excuse

Either way, it brings forth change. It necessitates change. For all the pain and loss the situation brings, the Five of Cups jumpstarts something better.


Throughout the day I tried to find situations that made me think of the Five of Cups, but I found nothing in my immediate vicinity. (That’s the problem with holidays, I guess; everyone stays home! Human interaction is limited!) But I found the Five of Cups anyway, while I was calculating my year card.

I’ve been trying to keep heavy emotions out of my tarot blog, but when I wrote about my goals for the year, and how much I wanted the change that Death promised, I had to talk about why I wanted it so much.

I didn’t explain the situation well enough — I didn’t want to give it more attention or power than it required — but giving a glimpse into it illuminated how strongly I cling to the past — how I let it define me.

I need to let go of the past and remember that I can learn from it. That starting again is as easy as picking the Cups up again and continuing on my way.

Daily draw for New Year’s Day, Friday, drawn at 9:00AM.

This New Year, change begins with Death

When your year card for 2016 is Death, there’s no need for an introduction.

I shouldn’t be afraid of Death.

I’ve read so much about how drawing Death, the thirteenth card of the Major Arcana, doesn’t mean a physical death. How it’s practically a truism in tarot circles — how only irresponsible readers will lay on the gloom and doom for a client when Death appears in all his (her?) finery.

But when I calculated my year card for 2016, looked through my deck for the Major Arcana card numbered XIII, and realized it was Death — well.

You don’t see a skeleton in armor, the bodies of dead men trampled beneath its horse’s feet, and think, “Yes, I was hoping to get this card!”


Let’s be clear: There was no dignity or poise in that moment. For a good few moments I felt cold and couldn’t speak. I held the card loosely in my hand… then, when I realized how shell-shocked I seemed, I started to spew forth a garbled stream of words that I eventually remembered to record using my iPhone’s Recordings app.

I could’ve waited to write about it, I guess. But I needed that stream-of-consciousness monologue to get to the bottom of how I felt. To keep myself from giving in to what I knew was irrational fear. To understand the card intuitively — minus standard interpretations and keywords, just me and my thoughts. And so I talked.

Later that afternoon, I played back the recording, winced in sympathy with the girl with the trembling voice, and transcribed it. And while I could probably come up with something short and streamlined for this blog post… I won’t.

I’m including parts of my transcript here because I want to remember what I was thinking at the time. How I worked through the fact that I’d drawn Death. How I felt about it. And how I realized what I’d have to do to make the most of it.

Earlier this morning, I started looking at blog posts and I saw that people were talking about calculating their year card.

Your year card usually corresponds to a certain card in the Major Arcana. Using numerology, you add the numbers of the day, month, and year you were born, and if you’re calculating a card for the current period [year] you do the same thing. If the number that comes up when you add everything together is between 1 and 22, keep it. If it’s larger, add those two digits together and you’ll get the number of your year card.

My birth card is The Chariot, which is number seven — and that’s a card about change, sometimes perhaps being indecisive, not always knowing where to go, what to do, always feeling like you’re in a state of moving, never feeling like you’re completely happy where you are. But it’s always a card of change, a card of constantly improving yourself, I believe. The Chariot, it’s about movement, it’s about, it’s about, I think about Phoebus, the sun god, [who] would carry the sun around on a chariot and it would rise and set with him. Change, not always good, not always bad, but I think it’s always for the better.

My year card, however, is Death. And I shouldn’t be afraid of death. I’m used to seeing, I’m used to seeing, I’ve read so much about how Death doesn’t always mean a physical death. But when I saw the card I was terrified…

I’m very nervous about seeing the Death card. I will be completely honest, I am very very nervous about it [so] I will talk through it because that’s the kind of person I am. [laughs] I wanna know why I feel so bad about it, why I’m so afraid, besides the fact that it’s Death, of course…

As I describe the card in detail — so grim! Ominous! Dramatic! — I relax somewhat, though my voice is still trembling. Then my voice picks up, more confident:

[O]n the other hand, knowing what I do about the tarot, [Death] isn’t about a physical death. It’s about the death of things you thought you knew. The things you’ve always been used to. The death of convention, of everything you’ve taken for granted.

And it’s a good card. Because what I want this year, really, is to go abroad! I wanna go abroad and change and meet new people. I wanna have the experiences that other people are having, that I’ve wanted for so long. I want to fall in love, after having a life practically devoid of romantic love — I’ve always had love from family, I guess, I’ve had love from friends, but never romantic love, never romantic love I wanted as much as the other person wanted.

So the fact that Death came up for this for me — as you can see my voice is kinda shaking! Because I actually, yes, I am super kaduper nervous. I guess that means things will change completely.

So what is Death, really?

Death is about endings, about transitions, about eliminations. It’s about closing one door to open another, concluding, completing a chapter… Moving from the known to the unknown, and cutting out what isn’t necessary. Going back to basics, basically — “and while often this comes with a lot of sadness and reluctance, there’s also relief and a sense of completion.

I haven’t been able to write about it in this blog yet, but this year I plan on leaving my job to get a postgraduate degree abroad. It’s been a long time coming, if I’m being honest here; I wanted to study abroad for college, but my parents discouraged me because I was a girl and “too young” to live on my own… right before letting my younger brother fly to California and do exactly what I wanted to do! Thinking about their betrayal makes me see red, even years and years later; I feel the anger rise up within me and make me hate everyone, everything.

While I’ve been working in advertising and things seem to be all right on the surface… I’m not happy.

But I’ve still delayed applying for grad school time and time again.

It’s only now, with this card, that I realize that I’ve been so scared of failing — and of being failed again — that I’ve been subconsciously telling myself, No, you can’t do this, you don’t deserve this. I’ve been playing it safe for years, hoping things will change without my having to risk getting hurt again. Most importantly, I’ve been holding on so tightly to the frustration and resentment that have fueled me for years that I haven’t worked to get myself out of it.

And that stasis, that state of inaction, has harmed me more than I can say.

A time of change and renewal

Death tells me that I shouldn’t do that anymore. If I want change, I have to strip down to the bare bones of who I am and what I need and work for it, others be damned. I shouldn’t be distracted by pretty, petty things; I need to be myself, and see where that and what I’ve learned over the past years can help me get through further studies.

My year card fits in so nicely with my New Year’s reading for myself, where Strength and the Nine of Wands tell me to leave the past behind, and the Two of Cups urges me to deepen connections and and further one-on-one relationships.

And while I haven’t written my daily draw post yet, my year card works perfectly with it as well: Today I drew the Five of Cups in reverse.

So what should I do?

I shouldn’t let the world at work get me down when it isn’t my end goal.

I should let go of what is non-essential and focus on who I am and where I want to be.

And I should be open to change in all its forms.

And I know that all this is easier said than done.

But with such a prominent card watching over me and guiding me — I don’t think I’ll forget it anytime soon. 🙂

How about you?

If anyone’s reading this — have you calculated your year card? What’s yours?

Featured image by Jordan McQueen on Unsplash.

Starting 2016 with Strength, courage, and home: my New Year tarot reading

There’s something about big turning points in your life that make you want to break out the big tarot spreads. Whether they have five cards or seven or nine, bigger, more specialized spreads seem to have more gravity or meaning. And why would you pass up an opportunity to try a new year’s spread on, well, New Year’s Eve?

I tried that today. I pulled up a new year’s spread, shuffled my cards, and laid them out in a tarot spread I’d recently discovered. But for some reason, they turned out so wrong. Each card was reversed. And while I’d completed a reading like that yesterday — and I do believe such spreads happen for a reason — it felt… different. It was like yesterday’s energy hadn’t disappeared. As if I hadn’t cleansed the deck well enough, and the previous day’s energy had rubbed off on my cards and my reading.

So I breathed, aired the room out, lit a candle, and shuffled the cards again. Shuffled thrice, turned half the deck around, then shuffled four more times to make it seven. I closed my eyes, slowed my breathing, calmed my thoughts, and laid out a simple three-card spread.

And suddenly things made sense again.


As my dogs fell asleep by my side, my mind was on the coming year — how to sweep negativity out the door and regain my focus for what I want to be a year of change. And so my question was:

What should I let into my life, and out of it, this 2016?



strength_rws_lgYou are stronger than you know. I am stronger than I know.

When I joined my agency last year, I was excited and motivated while my then-partner (now-senior copywriter) was burnt out. How that turned itself around in 2015! As the year went on, I became more and more burnt out, constantly wondering why I was doing this thankless job, why I hadn’t quit yet. The only thing I truly looked forward to in the second half of the year was my trip to the United Kingdom — three weeks of awe and wonder that got me through the last two months of the year.

In Strength, the lion represents the year I’ve had. It spoke too loudly and roared too much to make itself heard; it wasn’t devoid of happiness, but it was full of louder, more negative things; and most of all, it wasn’t good to me. As Strength, I close its mouth gently, with finality. Its time is up. It’s said enough.


wands09The Nine of Wands shows someone who’s been through a lot — and god, do I know how that feels. But how can you live life constantly looking over your shoulder or talking about the shit you’ve been through?

The Nine of Wands tells me to let go of bitterness, fear, and telling people what to fear. Warning new people of the travails of work may have been one of the most damaging things I’ve done this year. While I meant well, I may have made them fear something that they had the potential to love, all because I hadn’t been able to love it myself. Next year, I need to let people figure things out themselves. After all, it’s their life — and their adventure.

ADVICE: Two of Cups

two-of-cupsLast night, while talking with old friends from Australia over the largest glass of sangria I’ve ever seen, I realized that 2015 was my Year of the Hermit — minus any success. For one reason or another, I withdrew from the world, and I can’t even say that I nurtured connections with a select few instead.

The Two of Cups tells me to look for connections in my life in the coming year. To put myself out there, first of all. To be on the lookout for relationships that will last without discounting those that already exist. To be open to the idea of love. And to finally, finally believe I deserve it.

The Year Ahead

On New Year’s Eve every year, I come up with a theme that I want to define the next twelve months. Or at least I did once, when I called 2013 my Year of Exploration. I can’t remember what I came up with for 2014 and 2015, but 2016, I believe, will be the Year of Home.

Home isn’t only where you grew up or where you’ve lived, and family doesn’t end with blood. And this year I want to find new homes — in new places, with new people. I want a place to stay and a place to grow, however painfully. And I saw that in the Two of Cups — in the little house on the hills behind them. It’s small, but it’s theirs.

2016 will be my year. And I hope it’ll be yours, too!

Happy New Year!

See you in the morning xoxo

New Year’s Eve reading, read at 6:00PM.

Photo by Buzac Marius on Unsplash.