Dealing With Reader's Block

Reader’s block. It’s something that happens to all of us at some point in our lives. In fact, it’s something I’ve been struggling with for the past few weeks. Why does it happen? To be honest, and this answer is a little woo, but I believe a block occurs to help you integrate things. It happens to basically force you to step away, get quiet and allow the assimilation of everything you’ve learned over the past few months to happen.

What I’m saying is that although it may feel like this block will last forever, it won’t and when it’s finally over, you’ll probably find that your readings are more accurate than they ever were before. 
But all that being said, when you’re in a reading block it can be pretty crap. You wonder if you’ve lost touch with your intuition (or if you ever had it in the first place), you do spreads for yourself and they make zero sense, you get agitated with daily draws because they don’t seem to reflect what you’re currently going through.

If this is happening to you I have one sage piece of advice: Stop.

Give yourself permission to stop. Give yourself permission to take a break. Breath. Put the tarot cards away and… go do something else for awhile.

How long is ‘a while’? Well it’s as long as you need. I’ve had blocks that have lasted for a day and one that lasted for almost a year. Trust me, you’ll know when it’s time to come back. In the meantime, focus on doing things that make you feel happy, healthy and rested.

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Stepping into Your Power: A Spread

Personal power is a touchy subject, especially if you’re a spiritual person. We know the value of feeling empowered, but when it comes to actively asserting our power we sometimes worry that it’s not spiritual or that it’s ego talking or something else. But stepping into your personal power doesn’t mean that you squash others or live from the ego. Stepping into your personal power means being in full control of your life and accepting responsibility for where you are and what you’re doing. It grounds you, deeply. 

When you’re in touch with your personal power you feel… 

  • Grounded 
  • Connected to source and your intuition 
  • You trust your intuition without doubt 
  • You allow your heart to guide you 
  • You care less what others think 
  • You trust that you know what’s best for you 
  • You chase your dreams 
  • You feel confident, beautiful and secure 
  • Life opens up for you – abundance flows, opportunities abound  

When you’re not in touch with your personal power you feel…

  • Disconnected 
  • Fearful or anxious 
  • You find it hard to make decisions 
  • You doubt and second-guess yourself 
  • You find it hard to plug in to your intuition 
  • You feel fed-up and negative 

Many of us carry issues surrounding stepping into our personal power and lots of these come from past lives where we were victims or misused our own power. The easiest way to get reconnected is with practice. The more you practice being in your power, the easier it will become. Here's a tarot spread I created to help you figure out what’s blocking your power and, more importantly, how you can reclaim it.

1. Where am I at in relation to my power right now? How you currently feel when it comes to your relationship with your power. This card can also highlight issues with self-worth and how your personal energy is.

2. What’s blocking me from fully stepping into it? The fear or obstacle that’s stopping you from fully inhabiting your power centre.

3. What damage is this block doing/how is it holding me back? When we see and witness the problem, it loses some of its power. What we witness, shifts.

4. How do I begin to dismantle this block? Advice on how to face your fear and begin to remove the block.

5. What is on the other side of this block for me? What is waiting for you on the other side of fear.

6. What do I look like when I stand fully in my power? Your personal power totem card. I like to pull an additional oracle card deck for this position too.

7. Advice from above. Advice from your spiritual team that can assist you with stepping into your power.
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10 ways to bond with your tarot deck

I think that when it comes to giving accurate and useful tarot readings, one of the easiest ways to achieve this is to have a solid bond with your deck. What does that mean? It means that you and your deck understand each other – physically, emotionally, energetically and spiritually. A solid bond means a solid reading. Now, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of books/websites/blogs etc. out there who claim that the quickest way to bond with a tarot deck is to sleep with the cards under your pillow or near your bed. I’m going to call bullshit on this because it is bloody impossible to sleep with a deck of 78 cards shoved under your pillow (as a naïve young reader, trust me, I tried this) and I don’t see how sleeping on a deck actually helps your connection.

Here are my top 10 ways to forge that crucial connection sans horrific night’s sleep and neck cramp (you’re welcome).

1. Welcome the deck – I’ve been reading cards long enough to notice that each deck has its own unique personality. Do I believe tarot decks are living things? No. But I do believe that it’s always nice to get a good welcome, so when you first bring your deck home, say hello. I usually do this by passing the deck through some sage smoke and then fanning out the cards and holding them against my heart. I say hi, welcome, what’s up? And then silently imbue them with my intentions.

2. Do a deck interview – Learn about your deck. Shuffle and draw a card for the following questions: what’s your personality? How will this blend with my own? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What’s the best way for us to work together? How can we connect on a deeper level? What will you teach me?

3. Start daily draws – Ah yes, that age-old tarot technique. There’s a reason why it’s so revered. Daily draws are a fab way to get to know a new deck and see what the day has in store for you. Commit to doing daily draws for three weeks, or however long feels good for you. You’ll be bonding with the deck in no time.

4. Have a conversation – Shuffle the deck. Tell it what’s on your mind, then draw a card from the top. How do you respond to that card? Pull another. What about that one? Pull another etc.

5. Imbue with your energy – If you need to connect quickly because you’ve just bought your deck and already have a sitter, here is a very ungraceful but tried and tested method of getting your bond on. Shuffle the deck and then briefly touch each card. This will get your energy into the deck and hopefully it’ll start responding. It’s worked for me.

6. Don’t look at the little white book – Seriously. Just put it away and allow the deck to speak to you in its own language. Intuitively you’ll vibe with whatever it is that you need to know. Sometimes the easiest way to give great readings is to shut off the logical part of your brain (the part that craves the little white book) and trust your intuition. That’s why most of us read in the first place – to tap into that hidden inner voice, right?

7. Journey into the cards – This process is a little more time consuming than the others, but if you have a vivid imagination it can yield great results. Choose a card, study the image, then close your eyes and imagine you’re in the card, interacting with whatever is going on. Trust every insight you receive and write it down.

8. Breathe into it – Hold the deck, think of the type of relationship you want to have with it (e.g. ‘I want this deck to help me improve my intuitive reading’) and then blow your intention into the deck. Energy flows where intention goes.

9. Think about what you like – Loving something instantly forges a connection. Every time you pick up your deck, focus on all the things you love about it. Give a deck love and it’ll love you back.

10. Care about it – This means making sure you store your deck somewhere safe so it doesn’t get warped from heat, it means treating it with respect and regularly inspecting it for signs of wear and tear. A little respect goes a long way.
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Full moon in Aquarius

It’s the full moon eclipse in Aquarius. The energy has been crazy intense so I spent my day in nature, grounding deep. When it comes to doing personal readings, I mostly throw my cards on new and full moons.

Today I decided to stray away from my usual routine where I intuitively pull four or five cards, and try out the great full moon in Aquarius spread from Ethony (you can find the spread over on her Instagram page by clicking here).

For this reading I was drawn to a deck I love but hardly ever use for myself, the Druidcraft. It must be the grounding, earthy energy of the cards. I love this deck, but find it hard to shuffle due to the size of the cards.

Full moon in Aquarius spread by Ethony

1. What possibilities are being offered to me right now? Queen of Pentacles
This card has been stalking me for the past few weeks, so I’m not surprised to see it here at all. I’m being given the opportunity to really ground into my body and into my sense of home. This full moon is offering a return to my body. I have the tendency to live in my head a lot and over the past few weeks it’s become highlighted to me how important it is for us to embody, as opposed to just ‘be’ in our bodies. Yes, we can be in our bodies, but embodiment is a very different thing. This full moon is calling me to embody, to get in touch with those things that make me feel grounded and to root down deep. I also associate this card with authenticity – ripping off the mask and allowing your true self to appear. Embodying the truth of who you are.

2. What area of my life is craving freedom and experimentation? Six of Swords
My thoughts/psychological self is craving smoother waters. Overthinking complicates things. It’s time to be and feel, as opposed to thinking about things. I need to embody (there’s that word again) and allow myself to feel my way forwards as opposed to over complicating things by thinking them to death. It’s time to experiment with feeling, especially when it comes to making decisions. What would feel best?

3. Where in my life can I bring more unity? Prince of Cups
The Queen of Pentacles sits with both feet on the earth, yet the Six of Swords and the Prince of Cups are near water. There needs to be a balance between emotional expression and grounding into feelings rather than letting them overwhelm. It’s feel your feels, but feel them in a balanced way so they don’t overwhelm or morph into overthinking or rumination.

4. What old habits/beliefs need to be released under this Full Moon? Queen of Cups
The belief that healing isn’t possible, that emotional balance isn’t possible, that there will always be a struggle between the intuitive and the rational and issues surrounding the blending of the intuitive into daily life.

5. Where do I need to go with the flow? Three of Wands
When it comes to all those long-held dreams, I need to release them. There’s only so much of the process that we can control and influence, and at some point you have to loosen the reins and just let the universe take over. It’s also about recognising how far your influence extends. Are you really in control of every single details regarding a project or dream? Or are there other people that need to do their job too, people that you can’t control. Figure out where your influence stops and try not to worry about the outcome. 
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A letter to a fledging tarot reader...

Dear tarot-reader-in-training,

There’s so much that I want to tell you, but I’m not sure where to start. I look at you and I see myself. I will always remember the day I got my first deck and I hope that you’ll always remember yours too, because that day marked the start of an incredible journey, whether you’re aware of it or not.

It doesn’t matter if you go on to read for thousands of people in this lifetime or if you solely use tarot for yourself, but you will become a catalyst for transformation. An agent of positive change.

I want to tell you that even if how you came to possess your first deck seemed really ordinary and run-of-the-mill, it most certainly wasn’t. There are greater forces at work in this world and I truly believe that tarot finds the right people. Tarot seeks out the seers, the visionaries, the healers. If you’re holding a deck right now, I can tell you that there’s a 99.9 per cent chance that you’ve held one before in a previous lifetime. That’s why it all feels so familiar. When you close your eyes and start to shuffle, that’s why it feels so comfortable.

The most important thing for you to know is that you shouldn’t doubt yourself. Doubt will arise, and it will come back again and again, but whatever you see in a spread, whatever niggles crop up you should trust them. Yes, a tarot card is just a glorified piece of cardboard, but it helps to open you up to your intuition and that’s something you should always trust, no matter what. Say what you see. Say what you feel. Say what you sense.

I want you to know that there will be people who will try to tear you down. Who will be afraid of what you can do. Who will rubbish your intuitions. Pay no attention to them. You are a sensitive soul who is so in touch with the world and the heavens. You are divine and you shouldn’t allow these people to hurt you. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep forging ahead. It may not seem like it now, but you will help yourself so much through tarot in the coming weeks, months and years and you will help thousands change their lives for the better through your use of these cards if that’s what you want to do.

When it comes to your study, follow your intuition. Just because one branch of this art has a well-respected tradition behind it, don’t feel as though you have to conform. Take what you like, take what resonates, and leave the rest behind you. Forge your own path and don’t be afraid to bring your creativity into the mix. Amazing things happen when your personal creativity is ignited.

And don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. We are all faced with the tough readings, whether they’re for ourselves or others. Your sensitivity is a gift and if you allow yourself to be vulnerable you will be able to connect with yourself and with others in such a deeply healing way. Allow your vulnerability to be expressed through your practice. Keep your reading a safe, non-judgemental space where the only objective is to hold space and become a source of compassion.

I want you to know that your reading preferences will change. As will your deck preferences. Sometimes you’ll be diligent with those daily draws, other times you will give up on them, frustrated by the messages that the cards reflect back to you.

I want you to know that it’s okay to fall away from your practice. It’s okay if you don’t practice for months or years, but you will return because this is something that is in your blood. And tarot will always welcome you back. Your intuition will always welcome you home.

You are stepping onto a path that is incredible, joyous, wonderful and awe-inspiring. But also one that is tough and hard and requires great heart and bravery, not because the art itself is hard, but because as a reader you will examine every aspect of yourself and your life, and you will always seek to do better, to live more fully and to open your heart as wide as you can.

And that, no matter what anyone else says, is so admirable.

You are not just a tarot reader. You are a revolutionary, a warrior, a healer and a light that seeks to raise others higher.

I bow to you and thank you. With you, all of us learn more. Thanks to you, thousands will be inspired. With you, perspectives change and hearts open. With you, healing occurs.

Through the good draws and the bad,
Your friend in the cards.
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