Shadowscapes Day 13: The Hanged Man

Today’s card is The Hanged Man.

Drawing a major arcana card always makes me feel like something major is about to happen!

I actually really liked The Hanged Man card and don’t see it as a bad omen. According to Shadowscapes Companion, the card means “Letting go and surrendering to experience and emotional release. … The Hanged Man also urges you to release your view of the world and see things in a new light.”

What resonates with me about The Hanged Man is it’s in an impossible situation, and he’s making sacrifices and staying there. The tree is also made up of these imps/spirits. There’s a lot of strength and sheer will in this card. That’s what I’m drawing on as well.

Shadowscapes Day 12: Eight of Swords

Today’s card is Eight of Swords.

According to the book, “It is easy to freeze up in a crisis–to feel restricted, confused, powerless, and trapped by circumstances–but there is always a way out if you take a moment to breathe and reassess.”

The swam is trapped in the briar patch. There’s a witch above, directing the thorns. A hummingbird urges the swan to be calm. I love this image because it shows that when you get bogged down in a thorny situation, the first reaction is to panic, because of course you want to get out. When I was teaching, I often felt that way. I froze when something went unexpectedly, and the situation escalated into a crisis.

As I think about subbing and going into the classroom again, I have to keep in mind to slow down, breathe and reassess for the next best step.

Shadowscapes Day 11: Justice

Today’s card is Justice.

I drew a major arcana card again! Justice is portrayed as a woman holding a scale, and the motif here is butterflies. She’s standing on the knotty branches of a tree.

I don’t really know how Justice applies to my life right now because I’m not personally in a situation where I’m seeking it. However, justice is one of my core values. I don’t really believe in “blind,” “impartial” justice because I think you need the full set of facts, context and “totality of circumstances” to judge–justice is anything but blind. It requires open eyes and it works best in the dark.

Anyway, I’m talking a lot like Lillian from Nothing to See Here. Justice rarely works out that way in real life. When it does, it’s an exception.

“She stands for karma. The souls gathered in the butterflies hover near, and she bears the feather close to her heart, like a sword.”

I do believe that soft things like feathers can be very powerful!

Shadowscapes Day 10: The Fool

Today’s card is The Fool.

It’s interesting getting the major arcana because the cards feel really witchcrafty. I got The Fool, which seems bad, and according to The Shadowscapes Companion, it means:

“There is an obvious foolishness to the terrible plunge you may experience, or else a wild spirit of adventure and great faith and knowledge in what can and will bear you up and guide you through the times to come.”

Tarot deck creators represent The Fool in many different ways, and the way Stephanie Pui-Mun Law represented him/her as a woman standing on a ledge, held up by doves and ribbons, and about to take a step and plunge into something terrible. I have a huge fear of heights, and it makes me feel like a coward sometimes, to be honest. I don’t know if taking a leap is foolish or not. I feel like I have no choice but to take a leap and try to survive sometimes, not because of a “wild spirit of adventure,” but because it’s my best choice for survival.

The Fool is an interesting role to play! I’m sure I have been foolish at many points in my life.

Shadowscapes Day 9: Five of Wands

Today’s card is Five of Wands.

“When gathered together, these minor obstructions become an overwhelming wall to overcome, but take heart and let the adrenaline awaken body and mind to rise to the challenge. Answer that challenge not with despair but with renewed vigor. Appreciate the unknown strengths that are drawn forth when faced with difficulties.”

Five projects I need to complete:

  1. Swag website – write copy
  2. Mochi magazine – edit articles
  3. Rising Leaders – finish application
  4. Stop the Recall – make calls
  5. Sister District – make calls

Not to mention projects I want to do for myself:

  1. Write and submit books reviews
  2. Draw comics
  3. Memorize songs on viola
  4. Make psych ward greeting cards

It really speaks to me that these are hard to do and take a lot of energy. But I believe in myself. There’s going to be a lot of obstacles but I am confident that I can overcome them. I hope I get my new CalOptima insurance card soon so I can start subbing, and I pray that I get the adult teaching job.

Shadowscapes Day 8: Seven of Wands

Today’s card is Seven of Wands.

I’m going to be doing several tough things today–making phone calls, a Zoom interview and applying for a fellowship. I feel a little bit uneasy about it, so my question today was what should I be aware of going in?

It’s a picture of a vixen protecting her kits in a standoff against a badger.

“Do not buckle under a swift wind, but sway like a bamboo. Seemingly insurmountable odds can be overcome with faith and courage.”

To me, it means believing in myself and being nimble yet steadfast. It’s interesting drawing this card about strength and protection because last night, I had a really hard time falling asleep. I had been making good progress with healing, but I backslid and looked at some triggering images on my phone as a distraction, which ended up being worse, and I had stressful dreams after that.

I have to embrace this part of myself and learn to make better choices, like listening to music or reading, next time.

Shadowscapes Day 7: Eight of Cups

Today’s card is Eight of Cups.

Wow, I love this card. She’s a headlight-fish mermaid diving into the depths of the sea with seven cups around her, and she’s holding one.

“Now is the time to let go and allow all the weariness to ripple away from you and fade into the waves.”

Coryell, my friend who gave me this deck, actually loves mermaids. I do too, and the ocean and idea of diving deep into something has also appealed to me. I love how flowing things feel around her because our world rarely feels like that. In fact, if the world was a body of water, it’d be a stormy and turbulent tsunami, or a struggling creek. But here, the water is swaying, almost still, and it’s the perfect opportunity to see.

(I wrote this at the end of the day rather than at the beginning!)

Shadowscapes Day 6: Page of Wands

Today’s card is Page of Wands.

I love that the Page of Wands is playing a string instrument! Wands has to do with activities and projects, and I am embarking on a few right now.

“She may be a teacher, eager to pass on that kernel of knowledge that she possesses. She is the fiery spark of initiative, inventive, and she dares you to do and not only sit there with mute desire. Action is what is important. Can you hear her song ringing in your ears?”

This card is totally what I am about right now! One, I am literally playing a string instrument (viola) again. Two, I feel like getting back into teaching, writing and creating. Three, I know that “the actions that push you to the limits of comfort are the most rewarding.” I am thinking about doing just that right now.

Book Reviews from Last Year! pt. 1

Last year between October and December, I checked out a big stack of books and did not get around to reading them. I finally am again! I will review and update as I finish each book.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

I loved this book! It’s about children being literally on fire whenever they feel angry, upset or a kind of strong emotion. I relate to how Lillian feels like a failure and deficient, and raising the two fire-children gave her a new sense of purpose. On paper, she’s the furthest thing from a parent, but she bonded with the Bessie and Roland because they are outcasts and weird, too. Wilson’s writing is wry and sentimental. I love Lillian’s straight-forward way of talking and her jabs at the propriety of Madison and Senator Roberts’ life. Her interactions with Carl were fun, too. Lillian reminds me a little bit of Ottessa Moshfegh’s female characters because she is so weird, yet it’s fun to follow her on this adventure of becoming the ~governess~ to a senator’s unwanted children. Kevin Wilson’s writing resonates with me, and I’ll be reading more of his books about families.

Flor and Miranda Steal the Show by Jennifer Torres

The whole time I was reading this book, I pictured the L.A. County Fair in Pomona. Flor and Miranda work the carnival: Miranda is in her family’s band, and Flor’s family runs the petting zoo. The problem is the carnival manager wants to cut the petting zoo to pay for Miranda y Los Reyes’ fees. It’s a nice rivals-to-friends story in a very specific setting, and I loved seeing them describe the carnival behind the scenes. Middle grade books about working families always bring me back to teaching for some reason! It reminds me a lot of students, and how they have a rich life with things going on at home that they don’t let on at school.

To be continued!