What a year it’s been.
Here at the turning point of the year, the deepest of the dark, the longest night before we begin to move slowly back towards the light, I sit and reflect.
For me, it’s been a year of two halves. A lonely and angsty last few months on Skye, a bruised ego wondering who she really is, seeking a home with ever-increasing urgency, struggling to connect to landscape and community, at least in the ways that feel deeply meaningful. And a joyful landing in Machynlleth, months of movement in all directions, inspiration, excitement, exploration, activity, connection, so many new friendships, so much ease, so much colour. On the one hand, it’s felt like starting over. On the other, of course, it’s all just one journey.
I think about how lucky I feel, to have been able to change my situation, to have the resources, the confidence, the ability, the knowledge, to seek out and make real the change I craved. A combination of privilege, luck, partnership and deep, deep intention-setting helped me to reach this point, and here I sit at the winter solstice, the fire blazing, Em making tea in our own kitchen, just reeling.
So this year’s reflections are really a gratitude list.
So much has changed for me this year, so much has reached a place of conclusion, so much feels like it’s ‘shifted into place’ (and gosh, I really feel that phrase deeply just now.) Though I’ve eased off on the personal writing in the second part of this year, spending time instead simply being in Machynlleth and re-exploring magical mid-Wales, the feelings have been flowing. Rather than trying to write out every thought or emotion, lately I’ve just…watched. Listened. Made space for my feelings to shift and flow, move in, move out, pulled by the moon, by my moods, by the season. I feel as though autumn and winter have been a true fallow period for me this year, a time of letting go, forgoing work and blogging and showing up online in favour of just being here, just living. I’ve let myself be floaty and noncommittal, I’ve resisted every urge to declare intentions and make plans. Not easy for this Aquarius-with-a-small-platform, but an important habit for me to practice.
[That said, bloody hell I am dying to get back to writing again! I miss blogging, recording, watching my own journey unfold onto the page, where it so often surprises me. My own writing, the very process of putting word after word, is a healing and learning experience for me – I so often have no idea what will come out til it’s on the page (or more often, screen). I’m grateful for this space to put some of it.]
I read cards for my business a couple of nights ago. One of the central cards, depicting ‘actions’ for the present moment, was the Seven of Pentacles. This is a card of pause and reflection, one that encourages us to make space for reflections, tweaks, re-jigs and changes of course. It felt so apt. I was grateful for the encouragement to step back and gain some perspective on just where I am in the present moment, resisting the urge to dive straight into plans and goals and action-focused writing for the coming year (much as I want to do this). As I ruminated on the reading, I realised how much gratitude I hold for my strange and wonderful year, and how I want to speak it, to share it.
Here is the gratitude I want to express as the year turns again…
I’m grateful to Skye, a formidable, harsh and beautiful teacher, my home of 20 months, for showing me my limits and so much more. For teaching me that not everywhere can be home for everybody. For showing me that I am softer that I realised, and for reminding me how much I need people. For magic, for starlight, for skies like I’ve never seen and for a language I’d never heard before. For rocky shorelines, kyles and sounds, that provided endless metaphors for my own journey. For being only what it is, and refusing to bend to my imagination. And for holding me through it all.
I’m grateful to Machynlleth for being here, always, being small and cosy and quirky and magical, for calling me home. I’m grateful to the people of this town – especially Elena, Steph, Sian, Julie, and Hele – for opening their arms and confirming that this was my home.
I’m grateful for the financial privilege that has allowed me to buy a house this year – something I genuinely believed I could not do. And for the ‘couple privilege’ that made it so much easier.
I’m grateful to Em for deciding, in the end, to come along with me on my quest for a true home (for a long time, we planned to take different paths.)
I’m grateful to Jammy for coming home to us. I’m grateful to Emily for being with me all these years and I’m grateful to be finally able to give her a stable home.
I’m grateful for the Little Red Tarot community, every person reading this, for giving my work meaning, for keeping me on track and giving me a reason to sit down and write about tarot. I’ve not done anywhere near as much as I would have liked to this year, but without you, I probably would have abandoned my blog entirely. Your presence, support and encouragement has kept me accountable and made me love what I do.
I’m grateful for the beautiful, magical team that helps to create this blog and this community. Alexis, Andi, Asali, Abbie, Anna, Cassandra, Luke, Maranda, Sarah, Siobhan, Tabby, Traci, Wren, and everyone who has shared guest posts with us this year. (Join us in 2018!)
I’m grateful to every single person who allows me to sell their beautiful wares in my shop. Without the amazing artists who pour heart and soul into the decks and books they create, my little emporium of indie tarot goodness simply couldn’t exist. And I’m grateful to my many customers, who have been at all the right moments excited, patient, trusting, friendly, understanding, generous and supportive. Again, it wouldn’t work without you!
I’m grateful for the densely-woven safety net that I rarely notice, bringing me the confidence to do the things I dream of. My health, the NHS, the many intersecting privileges that allow me to walk through my life feeling safe, holding my head high, knowing I will be accepted (almost) wherever I go.
I’m grateful for my queerness, because it is a source of much magic.
I’m grateful for Emma. My love. My partner in life and in everything. Every year we ride out challenges, embrace ridiculous-seeming projects, make wild plans..and even do some of them, wind each other up into a frenzy of excitement and laughter, and support each other through darker days.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you everything I have missed – my gratitude is not in words or on a list, I carry it in my heart, in my step, in my morning coffee.
Thank you dark, thank you light. Thank you spring, summer, autumn, winter. Thank you Scotland, Wales and England, each in turn offering me a home. Thank you moon. Thank you sun. Thank you million, billion stars.
Thank you solstice for this turning point, this extreme, this moment.