These have been the themes for the past few weeks.
Introversion because it’s my default; the most familiar territory; the hallowed ground; the defense. While reading Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, I came across a quote about an old meaning of the word ‘introvert.’ The author talked about introverts being the outcasts of society. If a person chose to separate themselves from the rest of society, that person was said to be a witch or not to understand the world and something was wrong with them.
I thought it fascinating to find a connection between witches, those with supernatural abilities or knowledge, and introverts. Since introversion is my default, it means that I spend a lot of time alone and it’s rare that I’ll seek out social spaces. For that reason, I often don’t use social support at difficult times. With extra stress, this can get tricky to manage. I often can’t tell when I need people. Or when I know I do, there are none because they’ve long since given up trying to get me to leave my cave.
I was going to write a different piece this month.
Turns out, I didn’t have the spoons. I speak about retroversion in a planetary sense since so many planets are or will be going retrograde this summer; but also in a sense where I’m feeling a personal call to go inward and withdraw. I’ve reached a point of emotional overwhelm in the last three weeks. With all that’s going on in the world and the stars, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that you are too. I’ve reached that point and rather than lean into my ‘alone’ tools, meditation, superior self-care, crafting and reading inspiring words, I found myself despairing.
Luckily, and against the odds, I found myself at a full moon ceremony.
This is rare for me. I do not seek them out. Not because I don’t believe in the benefits. I’ve gotten a lot of work done in magickal community, but I also have gotten a lot of work done outside of it, and there’s a lot of beliefs that come with those spaces that I don’t share. Still, at the last full Moon in Capricorn, I found myself in a circle of 15 or so people.
Well, they called themselves women. Actually, they called “us” women. I understood that they experienced “sisterhood” where I experienced personfolk, humanhood, or community. I’m identifying less and less with this binary concept of “womanhood” even in my cis female experience. I don’t need to be their sister to feel close. I don’t tend to tether identity to my organs.
I remembered a version of me that could have appreciated their beliefs without sharing them. This is often how it goes for me in spiritual spaces. Gender is the other conversation (besides race) that I sometimes don’t spend the time having. My different perspective and experience persist, sometimes without witness, understanding, and without space being made for it.
Still, I found peace and reassurance. I needed it. Kind words from strangers seem to count. We explored permission and pleasure, the kind that we as humans often deny ourselves in the service of some important work that we feel that we should be doing.
‘Work’ came up a lot at this full ceremony. No surprise with the moon in disciplined Capricorn at the time.
The last thing I did before I went to this ritual was a tarot reading for myself. It focused on the first eclipse in the series of eclipses that we will have this summer. The spread is based on an eclipse checklist that I shared recently in my member’s area. Below, I share the eclipse tarot spread and reading and include the questions for each position in case you choose to do this pull for yourself.
I took the first card from this reading with me to the full ceremony and left it on the altar as a face-up card pull. This card has been stalking me lately…
I drop the Sun card on the altar
but keep its halo with me. I’m crowned in warmth.
for every tooth in my face,
for every wound I encounter,
seen and unseen.
We sit knee to knee in the grass under the full moon.
And though they are strangers
And it drains me to be seen
Because I gush life force
like a fire hydrant bust open
in a world on fire
the circle is cast
I am replenished.
Eclipse season tarot spread
1. What is the theme for the upcoming eclipse in Cancer?
XIX The Sun
I pulled the Sun and thought of the sun’s path through the sign of Cancer at the point of the eclipse; also of the eclipse itself as it is solar at the same time as the new moon in Cancer. This card stalks me. At the dust Onyx website, there are bags adorned with images of the major tarot cards. I ended up getting the Sun because I pull this card so often. The sun in astrology references the sign of Leo, my rising sign. Leo and the sun reference selfhood and identity.
In the Sun card, we see golden light around the figure’s head. The light is a crown, like hair, like the proud mane of a Leo. Calling to mind for me black women and their hair and the African tradition to communicate status and other information in the style of hair. The Sun card in this position is about my exuberance, my tendency toward enthusiasm. What I’m like I’m face-to-face with someone. It’s about how I express.
2. What part of my life might this eclipse touch?
Papa Gourd is also known as the King of Cups. This card called to mind the tutelage of Saturn and the restriction that it applies, our relationship to authority and combining this with the emotional sphere of the gourd/cup. It’s clear that this eclipse might touch the places where I keep my deepest knowing, my emotions, my responses, including, perhaps, the responses of the body. This eclipse will show me how I structure myself regarding processing and integration. At least it has the potential.
I notice with the second card the beginnings of elemental tension as the Sun card stands in the realm of fire and Papa Gourd card stands in the realm of water. Here we see the assertion of self having a bit of conflict with unresolved emotional processing. So far, the needed integration has not taken place to bring expression and self-care are in harmony. (This is so true…)
3. What are the messages from my affected planets?
The Emerging One
Next is the Emerging One, also known as the Fool. I’m new to the Dust II Onyx. I’ve had the deck for months, but only recently have I gotten over my fear of messing up the deck and actually used it (you know how it is with a new deck.) The first time I saw the Emerging One I didn’t know what to make of it. I tend to wait to read the guidebook until I’ve worked out my interpretations so as not to influence my intuitive response.
When I looked at this card in this reading, I saw a young Cudjo Lewis, the main character in the book “Barracoon” by Zora Neale Hurston, a story about one of the last known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade. I was reminded of the story Cudjo told about his initiation into adulthood. He talked about a tradition for young boys in his African tribe where they learn to hunt and to fend for themselves in preparation for a rite of passage.
I look at this card now and see a relationship between resources and resilience, those cultivated and supported by a community, and those we harvest ourselves out of a need for survival. I see this Emerging One having ancestral knowledge and joining society even though they barely have the resources or experience to make adult decisions.
This character has lept into an adult world. We know because we see on their back a symbol of their resourcefulness.
Even just a year ago, I might have looked at this card and felt closed off. I might have made a judgment call that I didn’t like the card. “Look at the poor animal,” I might have thought, “it’s barbaric to eat meat.” I was yet still unaware of this particular layer of my colonizer-centric thinking. Thinking that assumes the moderate western climate and the culture that developed around it was superior to harsher climates all over the world where cultures that consumed meat developed out of a connection with what the land provided and could sustain. I was still yet less focused on the fact that everything that we consume is alive.
Had I stayed in my judgment, I might never have seen in this card its connection to the adolescent journey and the mystery, discovery, and resilience associated with coming of age in a tribe. I might have missed in this card the role of community in how we shape our sense of ourselves as adults. Cultural resources such as Barracoon and the Dust II Onyx deck are invaluable. Resources like these that center the voices and experiences of black and African people open my eyes to white supremacist viewpoints and indoctrination that I have and which I’m not always aware.
4. What is the message from the modalities?
Seven of Blades
Here I have the seven of Blades. In this question, I’m referring to the modalities that will be touched by the eclipse. Modalities are a mode of expression that we find in zodiac signs and also in elements. There are three modalities, Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable. Tabby says more about modalities here. The part that matters is that the eclipse is in Cancer, and Cancer is a cardinal sign, represented by cardinal water. I also talk a bit about the modalities in the court cards here.
Cardinal means beginnings, such as the beginning of the season, the initiation of things. The characteristics of initiation are associated with Cancer, and this eclipse will touch all signs that share the cardinal modality. This question asks what we may learn from the affected modalities, especially in signs of particular interest in our birth chart. You don’t need to look at your chart to make use of this question. We aim, with this spread, to receive messages using the tarot.
The seven of Blades asks what is the story I have about winning? What do I believe is necessary to get ahead? What happens when I focus my attention in the service of success? What do I cut away as a result of that focused attention? What do I risk missing from using attention this way?
The seven of Blades can be predatory. It has the potential to create a blind spot in us even as it honors our warrior’s call from within. But it can, in its way, be nourishing. There’s a part of us that is fed with the narrowest view, with the scarcest thinking, in small-mindedness. A reptilian part that remembers the hunt for survival. Getting fed means we persist no matter the odds. Depending on our relationship with success and conflict, there’s an opportunity to either transcend or succumb to that smallness, according to our perspective.
5. What does integration look like?
X The Wheel of Fortune
I often see Jupiter when I pull this card. Lately, Jupiter and this card have been making appearances in my professional readings. The Wheel of Fortune speaks to Jupiter’s motion, it speaks of expansion. Jupiter is about to go direct after having been retrograde, appearing to move backward in the sky, for some time. This card and it’s connection to Jupiter speaks to the expansion within us.
It’s not clear at first when looking at this version of the Wheel of Fortune, but notice that the wheel in this card seems to be embedded in the lower lip of the figure. The wheel is in their mouth. The place where the breath and sustenance enter. The place where we speak.
I talked about Jupiter, the breath, and expansion on my Instagram account recently:
I talked about natural expansion and what it means to allow rather than force. In that post, I talked about the force of deep breaths. Everyone loves a deep breath, everyone loves to rest, and everyone loves abundance. The trick is, however, to be mindful of when we force in ways that are supposedly good. Sometimes we reject what we are at present when we try to alter ourselves, even if we mean well, even if we intend to be our best selves.
The Wheel of Fortune asks, how can we be our most expanded selves while accepting the spaces we occupy in the meantime?
Sometimes smallness has its job to do. Sometimes it has a lesson for us. The trick is to become conscious to choices, to choose as much as we dare, and to have compassion for where we are today.
6. What else do I need to know, do, or be?
Ace of Gourds
The Ace of Gourds here takes the disk of abundance as depicted in the Wheel of Fortune and that disk becomes a three-dimensional object in the Ace of Gourds. In the ace, we see overflow or abundance in action. In this ace, a person carries a burden, a hope or dream. It takes muscle, discipline, and the experience that comes with having carried a vessel before, to carry this gourd.
You build the capacity to contain, for potentiality. It’s a work in progress, a practice. This is how we carry abundance. This is what it means to receive.
A bird’s eye view of the spread shows us this golden orb in various states.
The golden orb is a halo emanating out from the self.
The golden orb is an adornment of the mouth – the receptor/receiver of abundance.
The golden orb takes effort to carry, it takes practice and speaks to the muscle needed to contain source and overflow.
In the spread, we see two kinds of tension, the fire of identity and the water of emotion. That fire of identity (The Sun) wants to be spurred on by the sense of the new (the Emerging One). It is weakened by the emotional growth still needed, the emotional mastery (Papa Gourd) that still needs to happen.
The earthy Wheel of Fortune wants to be nurtured by the budding practices (Ace of Gourds) that support emotional mastery but is undercut by beliefs about success (Seven of Blades). The drive to succeed may be filling an emotional void created by a lack of mastery. This manifests as an overly singular focus, one too narrow to allow for the containment required of expansion,
This is my dance for the eclipse. This is the shape that this astrological phenomenon will take in my life and these are the lessons I stand poised to learn.
Bottom card: Ace of Coins
Sometimes I look at the bottom of the pack after a reading. This time I found a second ace and was reminded of a conversation with Yoav Ben Dov. He talked about his teacher, Jodorowsky, and his use of the aces in psychomagic and spellcraft. He talked about the potency of the aces and cautioned against the use of the other minor cards in spell work. I took the message to heart, and it changed the way I thought of the potentiality of the aces. I had never thought of them as a literal catalyst for manifestation. This final ace speaks to the potential growth and healing in how I create and assess value. It speaks of an opportunity for my self-care to blossom. The potential for breakthrough may be all but imperceptible, gradual but still there.
I’m constantly being invited to the table of self-care. Repeatedly, I decline.
A cycle continues. You know the one. Where you struggle to do or be something. The struggle becomes the most important thing. A cornerstone of identity or purpose. To stop is to doubt. To rest is to fail. Cancer season teaches us that sometimes to move forward, we need to retreat into the sea, to scuttle sideways, to unclasp our claws and release.
I did this spread after a hard week. I saw those two aces, coins and gourds, earth and water nurturing one another and I felt hope. The universe continues to invite me to the places where I may be replenished. As long as I find my yes, I will easily be fed.
Shout out to Angeliska of SisterTemperanceTarot for the invite to sacred space and for howling at the moon with me. <3
If you are curious to learn where to look in your chart to see if (and how) an eclipse might affect you because not all of them will, I’ve created a report with an eclipse checklist and spread. I shared it in the Introvert Bubble members area of my site. If you’d like to see it, check out that member’s area or subscribe to my newsletter. Subscribers get access to a free peek at that area. Hopefully, that will help you weather the storm. Eclipse season is coming.
Deck featured: Dust II Onyx by Courtney Alexander, Black and Sage 2017