Shadowscapes Day 21: The Hierophant

Today’s card is The Hierophant.

In the picture, a caterpillar appears as a moth in front of the Hierophant. Seeing the moth in flight, the Salamander also wants to fly. The Salamander asks the Hierophant if it may also fly.

“Just know that your own destiny shall be attained along a different path than Caterpillar’s,” he said.

The card makes me feel a little uneasy at first because it looks creepy, and I had an uneasy night of sleep. I realized that there are so many traps that I can fall into throughout the day on social media: seeing people get married and promoted, celebrities and toxicity. It really is awful on my mental health. For example, I felt horrible after watching couple vlogs because I feel like I would never be in one. I feel so unphotogenic after seeing celebrity Instagrams. I definitely feel odd because I’m single. It’s really hard to counter the feeling that I should be partnered; it’s like a loud voice in my head telling me that I’m unchosen. I literally have to tell myself to not listen to that voice!

This message isn’t going away. If anything, it’ll get louder. A few months ago I talked to my friend about how hard it is being a single, unmarried woman as you get older. There are single ~icons~, but they are rich and attractive celebrities for whom being single is an asset. If anything, being single makes them more desirable. For regular single folks, life can be hard in several ways. One that I’m feeling right now is just being, literally, odd because I’m not paired with someone. I’m the extra person on the guest list, if I make it to the list at all. Another is that society is not favorable or trusting of single women. I don’t have a boyfriend or husband to refer to in conversations. There’s just so much social capital in being coupled. 😭

Going back to today’s tarot card, desirability has always felt like a puzzle to me, and something I don’t have. I feel like the Salamander in the parable because flight is unattainable to me, but I see other creatures having that ability. 😥 This is definitely a feeling I have to sit and get comfortable with. How do I celebrate being a Salamander??

Shadowscapes Day 21: Page of Swords

Today’s card is Page of Swords.

The swans flap their wings and create an updraft that carries the page through the night. She’s quick to adapt to the shifts in winds, seeing the path that nocturnal guardians of the sky offer. The Page of Swords embodies honesty and truthfulness.

I relate to this card because truth and honesty are really important to me. “She knows the measure of her own soul.” I want to get better at that and assessing situations.”She stretches her perceptions to try to make room for the new and unknown.”

I’ll have to do that when I start my long-term assignment in a new classroom. I will give myself and the students a lot of grace. I’m also excited to teach math! Being myself and seeing the students for who they are will help me.

Shadowscapes Day 20: Page of Cups

Today’s card is Page of Cups.

The mermaid takes a whiff of the single cup. She sits on a conch to rest. Fish know to swim around her so they don’t disturb her peace.

“In a world that is filled with so much noise and bustle, she longs for the time and space to simply breathe and to truly take in the pleasures that abound. She listens to the still voice from deep inside that speaks with understanding and intuition, and she longs to believe in the impossible.”

I relate to how the mermaid wants to take time to look at coins, tendrils and other miscellanea. As my life gets busier, I also really crave time to be still. I appreciate stillness especially during the school day, and I’m going to try to find more of it for myself and for my class.

Book reviews, from one year ago!

I actually borrowed these books last year, and I am only writing about them now! I literally read Watch Over Me the week of the election. I can’t believe it has been one year. The chillier weather this time of the year always reminds me of Fall 2016 and last year.

From last year: “It has been a very wild time the past few months and I’ve found it hard to read, but there are a few books I managed to squeeze in when my mind wasn’t occupied with resisting fascism!”

Watch Over Me by Nina Lacour

Nina Lacour writes beautifully. Someone on Goodreads described it as drinking a glass of water, and this one definitely feels like that. It is triggering because of the abuse and gaslighting that happened to Mila and her mom. It’s also very atmospheric–it was set in a farm in rural northern California. It’s a ghost story and the book gave me a kind of bruised feeling. There is so little that you can tell about a person. There is no way you can tell what trauma and longing they are going through. The way Mila finds healing through Lee is something I can relate to.

Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

It’s hazy in my mind, and the book felt like a dream. I love the loose lines in Tillie Walden’s graphic novels. This one is about two women and a cat who take a road trip across west Texas. I vaguely remember an incident of sexual harassment or assault being the reason one of the women is on the run. I actually don’t remember where they are going or if they ever arrived. I’m in this state of mind a lot the past three years, feeling like I am running away or trying to leave my trauma behind, and not knowing exactly where I was going. This captures some of those feelings.

Two Trees Make a Forest by Jessica J. Lee

I did not finish this, but I will! It’s about Taiwan.

Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram

In this sequel, Darius has a lot on his plate: he has an internship at his favorite tea shop, he has a boyfriend, and he is on a soccer team. He’s passionate about tea, his first relationship and obviously, soccer, but they become a lot to balance, and he doesn’t feel so good about them after all. I totally relate to this because I was literally that in Darius’s shoes the 2017-2018 school year. It was kind of miserable and really hard. Darius and I both deserve better.

The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufmann and Meagan Spooner

This was for Phelicity’s book club, but I did not finish it. I will come back to this because it’s been described as having Ghibli vibes, and I am very much for it.

I love going in the queue and remembering books from 2020!

Shadowscapes Day 19: The Lovers

Today’s card is The Lovers.

The card is full of contrasts: the simple calla lily and the sensuous rose, the innocent doves and the tempting snake.

I’ve been thinking about love in the romantic sense and many other senses: friendship, community, self and the world. I’m drawn to the idea of becoming a secular nun because it involves a very intense kind of love for the world, as evil and flawed as it is, and a deep dedication to the work of loving.

In the past, I had a romantic relationship like that, and after it ended, I found that it’s unlikely that I will find a partner who is looking for the kind of intense, dedicated and loving relationship that I want.

It’s also hard for me to be interested in men, even though I’m straight. There are so many ways for women to be hurt, permanently, and I really want to be safe, comfortable and myself. I have a hard time with performing/acting out the role of girlfriend (and wife, if I ever get married), and that is probably part of what holds me back. I have so little experience with what a role entails, and it’s a really hard script to perform based on society’s expectations of women.

(I feel for both men and women in regard to the gender roles they play. I’m sure men have to perform the role of boyfriend and husband, and that looks different in front of other men than with their partners. Toxic masculinity hurts both men and women.)

In my fellowship, we have been talking about being selfish and telling stories. I’m going to take the best care of myself for me and for Pecola. Since reading The Bluest Eye, living in a way that honors and protects Pecola–how I would do so if I had the chance–has guided my choices. I just want to protect and love Pecola and myself the way we deserve.

Shadowscapes Day 18: Three of Cups + Writing!

Today’s card is Three of Cups.

I love the Cups cards because they have to do with relationships, emotions and creativity.

This one is relevant to me: “Friendship is its key component, and companionship, relying on others, and developing community and team spirit.”

I feel really good today because I got to tutor two students! I love working on math and writing with them. It feels like a gift because I wasn’t looking to tutor more, but I went to Ms. Stacey’s house and met two other moms. I met Ms. Stacey and started tutoring for her in the first place because of The People’s Coalition, which I joined because of Babes Against the Virus.

The reason I got to tutor three students this week is because of community. The people around me believed in me, then more doors opened. I really love that!

I got to workshop two fun paragraphs with two young writers today:

This one is about the myth of Arachne, a weaver who was too proud of her skill, then the goddess Athena punished her by turning her into a spider. (7th grade)

A handwritten paragraph about the myth of Arachne
“The myth teaches you that [if you’re] talented at something, you should be humble.”

Some of the tweaks we made in this paragraph:

  • using “the weaver” instead of repeating Arachne’s name or an ambiguous “she”
  • phrasing the topic sentence from the question
  • citing the text and using transition words

This one is about why surfing is cool–that was the writer’s opinion about a sport. I thought it was cool that he chose surfing as a sport because it is a sport!

Some of the tweaks we made in this paragraph:

  • using the “___ means you get to ___.” construction
  • changing “dodge other people” to “dodge other surfers” to be more detailed
  • closing the paragraph with an opinion AND paraphrase of the topic sentence
A handwritten paragraph about why surfing is cool
“Sometimes, you might even see a shark lurking.”

I really love this because it’s the kind of editing I did with B/R, and it’s just fun to work with young writers. Of course, it needs to be copy-edited, heavily! I’m so happy I get to apply the lessons I learned from my temp assignment with B/R here.

Shadowscapes Day 17: Three of Swords

Today’s card is Three of Swords.

Oh my god, this card is literally me right now.

According to Shadowscapes Companion, “There is grief and heartbreak in the Three of Swords. There is a feeling of loneliness, separation, and isolation. Has everyone deserted in this time of greatest need?

Overcome the pain; the weeping of the heart is perhaps a necessary cleansing. Let that torment drain away.”

I’ve been feeling intense grief and sadness at how abrasive this world can be. This feels like a companion to the Ace of Cups card, if you turn the tears and grief into something really creative!

Book Reviews from Last Year! pt. 2

Here are a few books I checked out 10 months ago and have read over the past year! There are two books about Black teenagers, two graphic novels about Asian Americans, and one illustrated book called They Threw Us Away that I will be reading soon.

The Blue Flamingo by Dean Atta is a novel-in-verse about a a gay Jamaican-Greek teen growing up in London. It’s a story about coming out, and how it isn’t the moment you declare to the world that you are gay, but your entire life up until that point: The inquiry into your sexuality, what makes you feel like yourself, and what the people around you say about gender. I love when Michael joined the Drag Society and got to present himself. I found the part before he came out to be the most touching–all the moments when he wanted to play with femininity and the risks that incurred. Thank you, Dean Atta, for this amazing book! A straight-forward plot can still be a compelling book.

Displacement by Kiku Hughes is a flashback to WWII Japanese internment camps. The background is the anti-immigration rhetoric and xenophobia post-2016, and the flashbacks are Japanese American life in the camps when the narrator spends time with her grandmother. It’s not only about the loss of civil liberties, but also how people organized and resisted inside the camps. History might present great oppressions happening just as they are, but there is always resistance. People recognized that what was happening to them was wrong, and they fought it, just as people will continue to do.

Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte, illustrated by Ann Xu is about Cici! She moved with her family from Taiwan to Seattle, and she plans to earn her A-Ma’s ticket to the States by winning a kids’ cooking contest. It has all my favorite ingredients of middle grade: a quest, a protagonist with a lot of heart, things not going your way, and unlikely allies and friends.

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles–I’m reading this now and will update when I’m done.

Shadowscapes Day 16: Ace of Cups

Today’s card is Ace of Cups.

According to Shadowscapes Companion, “These are the guardians of the cups: the denizens of the deep, the fish and the ancient spirits of the sea. The swim with a fluid grace through the ocean’s depths, living in a dance of eternal motion.”

I think bodies of water are really calming, and being around one in real life or imagining the ocean helps me cope when I’m feeling emotional. Water is also linked to creativity!

To me this means:

  1. Drink more water
  2. Be near the things that I find comforting
  3. Don’t be afraid to dive in

Now that the recall is over, I can go back to tarot cards and drawing!