Anchors, Critics + Fear

We all have these walls. Some are tall. Some are thick. I think they are all…

Illuminati_8CupsToday I am reminded that “it is not the critic who counts;” as President Theodore Roosevelt said in his “daring greatly” speech. In this card from the lavishly illustrated Illuminati, we see a man turning away from eight empty cups. He is letting go of emotional anchors so that he can go out and become who he knows he was meant to be.

Letting go of anchors can be very difficult. Journaling helps me. Working through my workbook is helping me [aff]. Letting myself love myself is helping me.

Eventually our Tarot figure will hold his head up. He will realize that where he puts his feet isn’t so important as where he points his heart. The scene is important in this card for me. The imposing rock walls he must pass through. The Moon turning from new to full. He has to squeeze himself through the self-built rock walls. Then he has to let the thin, pale light of a new moon illuminate his way.

[Tweet “What about me? What self-built walls do I have to get past?”] Oh so many indeed, my darlings. So very many indeed.

The wall of self-doubt.
The wall of self-denial.
The wall of Inner Mean Girl.

We all have these walls. Some are tall. Some are thick. I think they are all illusions. They are all paper-thin just waiting for us to burst through them onto a new playing field.

Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t let emotional anchors weigh you down. Hold your head up. Trust your feet. Trust your journey.

Eight of Cups, Illuminati Tarot [aff], Llewellyn Publishing, 2013

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Perserverance, Finishing + Now

You can’t stop now. You must just roll over those bumps and plot holes and “what the hell did my character just say” moments. This isn’t about editing.

Mary-El_8DisksToday’s card is a reminder of keeping at it. If you are doing any of the month events–be it knitting or writing or hooping or what have you, perseverance is key.

In today’s Wisdom News from Lissa Coffey, I pulled this nugget of fabulous!

Perseverance is stick-to-it-iveness! It’s having that vision that success is not only possible, it is inevitable. It’s having the fortitude to navigate the bumps in the road, and not let those bumps become road blocks.

-Lissa Coffey (

And isn’t that the truth. Anyone who is doing #NaNoWriMo knows that the key is to keep writing. You can’t stop now. You must just roll over those bumps and plot holes and “what the hell did my character just say” moments. This isn’t about editing. No, not now. This is about writing.

And I have something that can help you. It’s a thirty three day eCourse. That means it comes to your inbox. You get to read it, work through it, tackle it on your time.

Use my years of writing experience (eight books as Marilu Mann with two more under contract) to help you get your book finished.

Ready to start? Are you a NaNoWriMo 2013 participant? Learn how you can use Tarot to finish your book in 33 days.

Mapping the Hero’s Journey will deliver thirty three days of lessons, handouts and motivational journal prompts. Stay on track by working through the point-by-point steps of the Hero’s Journey. Using Joseph Campbell, Christopher Vogler and my years of experience, you can finish your book.

With over eight books (written as Marilu Mann), I can show you how to turn my success into yours. Let your imagination run wild while guiding your voice down the path of the Hero’s Journey.

You will receive handouts that include many original spreads designed by me to use in developing your character and story.

This 40,000+ word eCourse is a combination of two workshops I’ve taught for many years. Instead of paying over $100 to be in one of ten seats when I teach this yearly workshop, you can grab it for only $33 (yes, the proverbial dollar-a-day).

Is it time to set your book free? 0Let’s get started.

8 of Disks, Mary-El Tarot, Schiffer Books

Seeking, Learning, Teaching

8-airToday’s card reminds me that learning and sharing help me grow. Without doing both, I stagnate. This is not good. 😀 Here are two upcoming events you might be interested in.

Toronto’s own James Wells will be offering an online course to help you deepen your reading skills. He and Joanna Powell Colbert, creatrix of the lovely Gaian Tarot shown here, have joined forces. Look out world! Visit here for more info! There’s free stuff.

And don’t forget to sign up for the Spiritual Path of Tarot Telesummit. This online event features one speaker per card (I’m doing Judgment) with two per week day from 9/16-10/1. It’s free to listen! And you can get your own copies to listen to later if you sign up for that. Get more info here and sign up for notifications for the schedule.

Eight of Air, Gaian Tarot, Joanna Powell Colbert

Seek joy, y’all! Pass it on.

Do You Awfulize?

RainbowTraveller_8SwordsToday’s card reminds me that sometimes I have to let go of my sword. That’s a bit scary when you are used to protecting yourself for whatever reason. And, I think, the majority of us have very good reasons for wielding our swords. We have years and years of experiences that have taught us to have it at the ready.

But in this Eight of Swords from Carmen Waterman’s Rainbow Travellers Tarot, we see a woman lost in a snowstorm. Let’s say that’s a metaphor for being unable to see something clearly. She’s been carrying a torch and a sword. The torch is to see her way. The sword is to protect herself.

She’s dropped the sword in my story. She’s had to let go of it so she can focus on seeing what needs to be seen. Perhaps she realizes that she needs to get real about getting out of the snowstorm. Maybe it’s become more important to her to move forward than to stand there waiting to defend herself.

My darling honey asked me last week if I thought I tended to “awfulize.” He works in a field where he reads a lot of books on a lot of things. This was in one of his books. The idea is that you dread something so much, that you build up tension in your body which manifests as pain.

I had to admit that I do. (He does as well but he was more than willing to say that. 😀 )

Do you?

Do you build up in your head the very worst scenario possible? Cast the other players as villains or enemies of your state? Do you run through conversations in your head where you fight with them or argue your point that you know they will hate?

Then get there to find out how wrong you were? Or that you didn’t prepare for the right thing?

What if we approached 90% of events as just events? Not opportunities for failure, defeat, embarrassment. How different would life be?

If I, as a tech support person, didn’t assume that everyone was out to get something for nothing or that everyone wasn’t pissed off at me personally, how much less stressful would my job be?

If I, as a person who needs tech support, didn’t assume everyone was out to rip me off or that everyone saw me as too stupid to live, how much less stressful would my support call be?

Your journal prompt for today is, “What do I tend to awfulize the most?”

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Eight of Swords, Rainbow Travellers Tarot, Carmen Waterman

This course changed how I see my business. I saw a 300% increase. No lie.

Stagnation Makes Me Giddy

VisionQuest_8CupsToday’s card made me giggle. Then it made me snort. Then it made me laugh until tears rolled down my cheeks.

And you are looking at me with your head tilted thinking, “Arwen, have you lost your mind? There is nothing funny about stagnation.”

I might agree with you if you didn’t know what I know. The Universe is mocking me again.

You see Monday night I did a reading for a young friend. It was her birthday and she is officially a tween now. Her parental units requested it. I was happy to oblige. While I did that reading, her parents unloaded a closet for me.

Close your eyes. Imagine a typical closet with sliding doors. Now imagine it is packed floor to hanging bar with boxes. Now wedge more in. Now realize that you can’t even slide the doors shut because there’s so much SHIT in that closet.

Then walk away from the closet for two, no…let’s make it two and a half years.

Yeah, talk about stagnation, right?

But here’s the thing. That’s not an imaginary demon of a closet. It was very real. And my friends moved all the boxes out.

Now I have to go through and purge, purge and purge some more.

I live in a cute, little condo. I’ve lived in larger spaces. I still have allllll the chit from those larger spaces. So you see where I’m going?

A lot of what I have hung on to has sentimental value. I have a turban and a pair of glasses. Both were worn by my mama during her battle with, and subsequent loss to, cancer.

I have books that took me places once upon a time.

I have Tarot decks that I wanted SO BADLY once upon a time.

Everything in these boxes has been in these boxes for two and a half years. Thirty months, y’all.

Like the chipped and no longer functional bowls in this card from the Vision Quest Tarot, my stuff is clogging me up. My chi is not flowing.

In fact, I think I heard my chi running for the hills.

Operation: Declutter Arwen is on the table. I don’t know how long it will take, but I’m going to do this thing.

Do you have anything that you hang on to that you need to let go of?

I know my mother will be happy to know her glasses are heading off to the Lions to be put to better use.

Eight of Water, Vision Quest Tarot, 1999

But I Don’t Wanna Go To Work!

Steampunk_8PentaclesToday’s card reminds me that I’m lucky. Blessed, in fact. It also reminds me that sometimes I forget this fact. I woke up wanting to call out. Was it because I didn’t feel well? Was it because I was in pain? Was it because there was some fun thing I’d rather be doing?

Nope. None of the above. I simply didn’t feel like going to work. It was just going to be another day of the same old shit. People complaining. Co-workers bitching. Sometimes the negativity at my office makes me want to run screaming into traffic.

So I laid in bed (after calling in and finding out that, once again, there was no time available) trying to reset my mind. What was one positive thing I could find to hold on to?

Then it hit me.

I had a job.

Period. End of story. I have a job that helps pay my bills, put food on my table. I have a job that doesn’t make me do hard labor. I have a job.

And that, y’all, was how I reset my mind. I got out of bed knowing which card I wanted…or at least which suit. It had to be Pentacles since that is the suit of physical labor (as well as other things). And the Steampunk Tarot was what I worked with for yesterday’s weekly Tarotscopes.

I love this card. The task seems endless and mindlessly repetitive, right? Unending. Same old shit.

But our girl has made it her own. She has created each disk with a different flair. She’s put herself into her task. Her focus is on how to make each piece uniquely hers.

I can do that. I can make each interaction with my customers uniquely mine. I can take pride in what I do.

I still may need ear plugs to divert the continual kvetching from so many of my co-workers, but that’s okay. I’m also blessed to have a job that pays me enough to indulge in Bose® QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® Headphonesnoise-cancelling headphones. (I got a deal and found these for $79 on some group thingy last year.)

Find joy in the mundane, everyday tasks today. That’s your 180 second challenge, y’all. Three minutes of acknowledging that what you do for your job is worth it on some level.

And if it isn’t? If there is truly no joy in your job? Use that 180 seconds for brushing up your resume and get the hell out. Don’t be that black hole of negativity that others have to avoid. Please.

Eight of Pentacles, Steampunk Tarot, Llewellyn [aff]

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on!

Finding Nemo Finds Arwen

eight-waterToday’s card reminds me of “Finding Nemo.” Well, not Nemo per se but one of the characters in that movie. I know it may not make sense but hang in there. I can explain.

I will refrain from misquoting “Princess Bride” now since mixing movies is only second worst to mixing metaphors.

Still with me? Good! This is the Eight of Water from the soon-to-be-out-of-print Gaian Tarot. It is the Eight of Cups in many decks. Although Powell turns a distinctly non-traditional eye on many cards, here she is true to the meaning.

Leaving things behind.

And, of course, the character I see here is Dory. I see this card and I tell my client that they have started the hard work. Now they must just keep swimming.

Stop for a moment.

What do you identify as “the hard work” in your current energy pattern? What are you actively trying to move away from?

  • Overeating?
  • Smoking?
  • Negative thought patterns?
  • Paisley?

What ever it is, this card is a reminder that you should keep swimming. Don’t look back. The further out you go, the further you are from that shore. The shore represents that “not so good for you” behaviour or, sadly, person or place.

Now that you’ve refocused on that “hard work”, I want you to give yourself a pat on the back.

Now, get wet.

You know why.

You’ve got to keep swimming, swimming. Just keep swimming.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Eight of Water, Gaian Tarot Limited Edition, Joanna Powell Colbert

What Swords Do You Carry?

8_swordsToday’s card reminds me that I can change my mind. I am not limited to or locked in by what I think. I don’t have to be blinded by my thoughts, you see. The Eight of wands in many decks shows someone blindfolded while walking through a field of swords. Dangerous, that. One really should watch where one is going when one is navigating a “mind”field of sharp pointy things. This is one of the reasons I’m always on about seeking joy, y’all. My personal “mind”field is full of negativity and harsh thoughts–about myself and others. I have to watch the people I allow into my world–too much negativity and they must be moved to an outer ring. That’s how I control my joy hula hoop. I don’t let them in if they are going to suck my joy dry.

Lately I’ve been moving to a focus on the outer me now that I’m happier with the inner me. I LOATHE dieting. I LOATHE the focus on dieting. However, I loathe more the fact that my back is in constant pain. A few things have happened recently that have brought this to the forefront for me. The first was seeing one of my cousins. Last time I saw her (nearly a year to the day), she was a stocky woman showing off our shared German heritage of stocky womanness. This time she was about 1/3 of herself. All she did was eliminate two things from her diet. Sugar and the much-maligned gluten. Yes, it completely changed how she eats but, damn, she looked so good. Not her weight loss. Her energy. Her smile. Same German heritage–just less of it.

Then my best friend told me, yet again, that she would be doing this challenge thing. She’s done it twice so far. So this time, I took the plunge. It’s a 24 Day Challenge where you drink their drinks and take their vitamins. I’m on day six today. It’s working. Period.

I’ve also been focused on walking 10,000 steps a day. I have hit that a time or two. What’s nice is that my weekly average has been going steadily up. Week before last I walked 21.1 miles for a personal best. Then last week (it runs Sunday to Saturday on my pedometer app on my phone) broke that record. The app I use is MOVES (may be iOS only…sorry Droid lovers) and it is free. It keeps me on track because I can see that at noon I’ve only walked 2200 steps so I need to …grin…step it up. But back to the personal best of 21.1 being broken.

You read me correctly. I broke my record. OH YES I DID. 22.5 miles walked. That’s 56,289 steps for 11:09 hours of walking. I’m averaging 8041.25 steps a day. And you know what? I’ve found that walking is something I really enjoy. I hear/see birds. I sometimes visit with other walkers. I love seeing if I can walk just one block more. I take pictures too. And then there are some other bonuses.

Some of those benefits I’ve learned (yes, I’ve read them but never believed them) are that I am far less cranky when I walk. The more I walk, the better I feel. My feet are hurting less (bonus) but it still takes me some doing to get motivated in the morning. I have some pretty impressive blisters too. Right now I’m back to walking in my Birks and switching to my tennis just so my feet have some changes. Oh. There is one other benefit.

I have lost five pounds doing this plus the Advocare 24 day challenge (started that on Wednesday). If you want to do it too, go here to get yours. It’s definitely challenging but it’s working so that’s a good point. The cleanse part isn’t so hard except I really miss dairy. LOL I had a tiny piece of farmer’s cheese that I put in this morning’s omelet. Had to make myself do that instead of the meal replacement shake. Those things are seriously tasty. I loved breakfast drinks as a kid. The chocolate mocha one tastes very similar to those.

One of the drawbacks is the fiber drink. OMG. Just drink it as fast as you can. It’s not NASSSSSSSSSSSTY but it is nasty. 😀 The Spark energy drink has truly done what it says. I am only doing one of those a day. It is tasty as well. I prefer the orange to the fruit punch.

It’s helping me change how I think about things. Food wise I’m eating more salads and focusing on more veggies at night. I’m lucky in that I adore things like cabbage which is very filling. All in all, the new healthy me is doing well. When I’m done with this challenge, I hope that I will have a new idea of how to eat better and control things like dairy and wheat. That’s really my goal. I don’t say diet because it’s not a diet per se. It’s more of a lifestyle/attitude adjustment for me. 😀 That’s why I picked the 8 of Swords. Sometimes thoughts are my worst enemies. I have to control them around food a lot. I have some “issues” around food.

A big one is an empty pantry. Anyone who knows me will tell you I hoard certain types of food. I can’t be without mustard, vinegar and pickles. Yes, I hear you laughing now but having them makes me feel secure. I could have no meat in the house and feel less anxious than when I know I’m down to my last bottle of mustard. It’s like a crisis for me. Same for Tabasco . Funny thing is, I don’t use any of them that much other than the vinegar. Right? Laugh all you want!

Do you have certain foods that have to be in your house? What are they? Or is that not one of your hangups? I think, for me, I will need to remove my blindfold in this particular “mind”field so I can examine it a bit more.

Still, feeling the loosening of clothes? Oh yeah…priceless. I don’t think I’d be seeing these results if I weren’t doing the walking of course. But I haven’t had anything to drink that hasn’t been water. The diet sodas, so I hear, actually work against a healthy life style. No sugar AT all. That’s been super hard. The strawberries with Stevia last night went a long way to helping that sweet tooth issue. Truly that’s my weakness. 😀 So I’m going to the store today to get more fruit. I’ve polished off the quarter watermelon I got on Tuesday. Strawberries are gone. So more fruit to curb Arwen’s sweet tooth. 😀

And more work on my thoughts around food and need. 😀

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

8 of Swords, World Spirit Tarot, U.S. Games

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Three Most Important Things

They are all active and alive and growing. These are things that need to be addressed so I might as well tackle them.

DreamingWay_8WandsToday’s card is not one I enjoy because of the message it brings. It’s not normally a “bad” card but for me, it makes me cringe. Why?

Because it is a card of necessarily fast action. Things coming at me rapid fire. Generally this happens when I’m tired.

Hmm. Do you think there’s a correlation to things coming at me seemingly too fast when I’m tired?

Yeah. Right.

But look at the wands themselves. All but one of them sports greenery. They are all active and alive and growing. These are things that need to be addressed so I might as well tackle them.

The postitioning of the wands generally make me think, “INCOMING!” Instead of ducking and …napping, I need to have a clear head so I can just get things done. This card, for me, is required multi-tasking.

And I am tired today. I also have a lot to get done. I stayed up far too late the other night and only got four hours of sleep. Last night I was in bed by 9 and asleep before 10. Then back up at 6.

I should have been back up at 5, grin.

Still, if I’ve learned anything in this life, I’ve learned how to multi-task.

Leonie Dawson’s workbook+planner encourages me to write down my three most important things for each day. Yesterday’s were “Stay awake.” “Seek joy.” “Go to bed early.”

What will your three most important tasks be today? Can you commit to one of them being “Seek joy?”

180 seconds is all I’m asking of you at first. Then start adding 60 seconds at a time until your day is filled with an attitude of gratitude for seeking joy in everything.

8 of Wands, Dreaming Way Tarot, USGames 2012 (used with permission)

Seek Joy, y’all! Pass it on.

Beliefs, Ceremonies & Secrets

One of the questions in this closing ceremony was “What dreams came true during 2012?” I came up with four of them right off the bat. The first and second were the most important to me. They were the two that really were the biggest.

Today’s card reminds me to believe in myself. When I listen to what old me says I can’t do, new me gets shut down. That’s no fun! The 8 of Coins is the card of the craftsman. I see it as the cycle of apprentice/journeyman/master. We are all at some point on that scale. Often it depends on what it is we are doing. For instance, I consider myself to be a master at the craft of Tarot reading but an apprentice when it comes to Astrology. It’s all good too. As long as I’m still learning, I’m succeeding. This is a fun representation of this mix of learner and learned in the Fantastic Menagerie’s Eight of Pentacles. Musicians are another form of artist who have an almost continuous learning curve.

My learning curve this past year is not something I really paid that much attention to until I got this planner for next year. If you’ve been paying attention, you know where I’m heading with this post. I’m going to go on and on about the 2013 Create Your Incredible Year some more, y’all. There’s so much here. I’m not even a quarter of the way through but already, I’ve had an epiphany. I’ll tell you about that epiphany on Wednesday.

The planner begins with an exercise that states as the very first line:

Here’s the place where we muck it up.

My first reaction? “Well that’s just not very nice, Leonie!” But, I’ve been a member of her site since June so I thought I might want to read on for one more sentence or so. Then I saw phrases like “taking stock” and “celebration + release” and “closing ceremony.” My fears were assuaged.

One of the questions in this closing ceremony was “What dreams came true during 2012?” I came up with four of them right off the bat. The first and second were the most important to me. They were the two that really were the biggest.

1. I created art.
2. I changed people’s lives.

Now those may seem fairly disparate or maybe even super out of balance in terms of importance. I suppose I could have lied to y’all and said that the second was the first and the first was the second, but well, that’s not true. That first one is a doozy for me.

I’ve shared some of my Zentangles here and there. The responses I’ve gotten have fed my soul in a myriad of ways. I get a bit choked up when I try to verbalize those ways. Art is one of those things I always thought wasn’t in the cards for me. I figured I was good to be able to write poetry and stories. My writing partner is an artist. She’s so talented that sometimes I felt a wee bit jealous of her.

Then two things happened. One was the Leonie Dawson Creative Goddess course. The other was Joanna Powell Colbert’s seasonal practice (I took the Lammas one). Both are online courses. Neither forces you to a strict “do it or you suck” time table. Both had these amazingly supportive souls on the same journey with me. Many of them were already visual artists. I was so intimidated when I saw their first pages of THEIR art journals. Mine looked like something a child (a really untalented one) might do. Goddess. It was excruciating to share my pages. But I did.

Then while I was doing that, I heard about, stumbled over, ran across Zentangle. And boom. I took a class (had to set multiple reminders on my phone that basically said “You paid $35 for this. Don’t back out.” And other *ahem* self-motivational admonishments. When that Sunday came, I was still looking for a way out including a mild wish to be hit by a bus. What was I thinking? Me? Doing art. HA to the HELL NO.

But I did. And I did. I mean…I did! I created things that were pretty. I showed my best friend who immediately dove in as well. She’s doing them as well. Zentangles, for me, have been a way to quiet my mind which helps my creativity.

Then there’s that second piece. That big, ballsy phrase about me changing people’s lives. I hesitated before I put that one down. It’s not one of those throwaway statements. But I’m going to talk more about that tomorrow.

Want to join me on this planner journey I’m on? I have a Facebook group (it’s seeeekrit). Let me know you’ve got the workbook. I’ll give you the Seeeekrit code and, if you join by midnight yesterday, you’ll get the Seeeekrit Decoder Ring and the Super Seeeekrit Ranger Necktie too. (grin).

Seek Joy, Y’all! Pass it on.

8 of Coins, Fantastical Menagerie Tarot, The Magic Realist Press