Who the Hell am I to Tell You About Chakras

If you’ve seen or if  you’re doing my Exploring Chakras Through Tarot challenge on Instagram, then the thought has probably crossed your mind: who the hell is she to tell me about chakras?

She’s only 28. She’s barely ventured out of the state of Colorado. She’s a stay-at-home mom. What the hell does she know about this shit?

Well, according to some papers I have, I’m a registered, certified 200 hour yoga teacher. To some, this may seem like a qualification. But the truth is that it’s irrelevant. The process to acquire these certifications revealed the yoga community (in Colorado, at least) to be cliquish, money-hungry, and competitive. Instead of “finding my tribe” I felt alienated. Just like everywhere else.

This was when I went to spend some time at the Shoshoni Yoga Ashram. And by Yoga Ashram, I mean temple at four am, study of the 8 limbs of Yoga (surprise! Physical poses are only 1/8th of yoga), and meditation on those dumbass little pillows.

My first day there, I chose to take a class instructed by the Ashram’s Swami, a white haired woman wearing saffron-dyed robes who had “reached enlightenment.” I could write pages and pages about the way she moved and the way she spoke, but I’ll refrain here.

As soon as I walked in, she gave me a sharp look and tapped on the carpet right in front of her. I unrolled my mat right where she’d directed me. I was embarrassed, worried, all that shit. There were no mirrors in the crooked little hut to check my alignment and, mere months after a c-section that left me with a separation of the muscles in my abdominal wall, my core strength was shit.

The class that she taught had little resemblance to classes that you can go to your local yoga studio and take. The movements were smaller, slower, and she didn’t even have names for the poses she instructed.

I was terrified of fucking up two feet from her, so of course I fucked up constantly. If she noticed, nothing about her showed it.

In a very Luna Lovegood sort of way, she spoke quietly and had meandering conversations with the spaces in between students. This was where it got weird. She was prattling about “enlightenment.” Different cultures have different names for it, but it’s all the same thing.

“What you’re doing right now,” she had said, “Has nothing to do with enlightenment.  Maybe that’s why you’re here. Maybe it’s not. Maybe you haven’t thought about it. Maybe you’re working to attain it. Maybe,” and here she gave me a very slow wink, “You’ve already encountered it.”

I remember the next thing she told us to do was to put out arms above our heads, shoulders down and back, and motion like we were climbing a rope. I felt like the teacher had just caught me passing a note and she’d intercepted it and read it to the class. I knew exactly what she was talking about.

I went on to fuck up the last pair of half-lotus chaturanga of the class and I ran to put my blocks and straps away. But I was farthest from the bins in the back of the room and everyone was bigger than I was, and I was one of the last people to toss my props in the bin.

My escape foiled, I walked back to the Swami’s mat. “When you were talking about enlightenment,” I said, “How did you know?”

She didn’t smile, but she wasn’t unpleasant when she said, “There’s just a stillness.”

Satisfied, I left.

So what the fuck was she talking about?

Let’s take a moment to talk about enlightenment. Enlightened people aren’t walking around in an enlightened state all the time. You can’t. Your physical body is unconscious. People who have reached enlightenment can meditate themselves into this state at will.

I didn’t do mine on purpose. At all.

From my research afterward, I accidentally reached an enlightened stage one evening through a Kundalini Awakening. This is a Hindu theory that a snake waits coiled at the base of the spine and, if everything energetically aligns just right, it travels up the spine, opening each chakra by blasting through it, and results in an “enlightenment.”

At the time that I achieved this, I knew practically nothing about chakras. I knew that they existed and that was it. I started linking the chakras to my “moment” during my chakra classes during yoga teacher training.

I’ve since realized that I should be very excited about it, because this shit is the kind of shit I must have been working on for fucking lifetimes.

Although I had no “training” in this life, I was obviously doing something right.

So, how did I do it?

I unthought myself.

Sometimes, the tapestry of reality has little frays. When you think too hard about reality, you’ll notice them. One evening, lying in bed, I found one. So I grabbed that sucker and pulled it. Most people, I think, notice that they’re unravelling the sweater and stop pulling, but this one time, I decided not to. I pulled until the whole sweater came apart. I pulled until it was the sheep’s wool, and I pulled some more until it was an egg in a sheep’s ovary. I pulled until the sheep weren’t sheep yet. I pulled until the planet was lifeless and then until the planet hadn’t existed yet. And then I pulled some more.

What was at the end of it?

Nothing.

And I was the nothing.

I can’t really describe the nothing. People talk about interconnectedness and all of that. People know it makes sense. People know it’s true. But this was like KNOWING vs knowing. It’s not even something to be talked about because IT JUST IS. I can’t convey it to you and I wish I could. The words I’m trying to use have been cheapened by excessive use from parroting lips.

But I haven’t been the same since.

That was a long story. But I offer you this: I’m doing something right.

 

 

 

 

 

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Who the Hell is Ethel Jean? An Antique Anatomy Tarot Review

So who IS Ethel Jean?

Ethel Jean is my Antique Anatomy Tarot deck, by Claire Goodchilde of Black and the Moon.

To make a long story short, this is my second review of this deck. The first one only covered the Major Arcana (which was released separately first) and you can read it here. It contains Ethel’s origin story. Then, once the deck expanded into a full 78 card deck, her name expanded too, so now she’s Ethel Jean and she needs another review.

I’m just going to dive right in without repeating myself, so if you haven’t read my first review of majors only, go read that shit.

NOW THE MINORS.

The suits are Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. Here are the Aces for your viewing pleasure:

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I love these Aces. A single, skeletal arm reaching up, ready to pluck their respective element symbols right out of the air and start some shit. I like to imagine they’re poking up out of the dirt to grab your ankles.

There’s no shortage of unsettling shit. We’re at Ethel Jean’s house, after all, and one can never tell if she would like you to have a cup of tea or if she’d like to murder you and bury you in the overgrown flower bed.

 

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Just like in the majors, there’s a great use of animal bones as well as human. Ethel Jean doesn’t give a fuck what or who is in her Sunday stew, thanks.

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Ethel Jean may listen much more than she speaks, but that’s only because she doesn’t have to fucking talk forever to get her point across. She says what you need to hear and that’s that. Have a stale sandwich cookie from the clear plastic tub and get the hell out of here.

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Who would have thought a toothless skeleton could be so goddamn cute?

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

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My very, very favorite thing about this deck is the way the pictures are so descriptive without having to be busy.

I use this deck every single day at least twice. Once at the ass crack of dawn when I have to get up to get kids ready for school, and once before bed. It’s always good to check in with Ethel Jean.

WHERE CAN YOU GET THIS DECK?

Get it here. Trust me, you won’t fucking regret it.

 

The Cultural Appropriation Frenzy and the Tarot

This is dangerous territory, guys. I feel like I’m swimming in alligator-infested waters.

Cultural Appropriation.

Some people wear feathered head dresses to Halloween parties and don’t give two shits about it. Some people make me feel guilty for even existing because human life first started in Africa and how dare white people steal breathing air and walking upright from them.

While we can all agree that shit like blackface needs to fucking go, the “spiritual community” is a very strange place for cultural appropriation accusations to fly. We’ve got white girls with cornrows and dreamcatcher tattoos standing in yoga studios bitching about some Chinese-themed Katy Perry shit. We’ve got black girls on social media telling white girls that they hope their dreads fall out of their heads while turning and smudging their room with a feather and sage.

So every time I light an incense stick, is that cultural appropriation?

Is using jade for its metaphysical purposes cultural appropriation of I’m not Asian? Is it cultural appropriation if I’m not African and I do energy work with spirit quartz? If I’m not Brazilian, can I use amazonite?

What about tarot cards?

Technically, tarot cards were a European card game, so how about cartomancy? Divination with cards started in Europe in the 14th century. Details seem to be disagreed upon, but the earliest documented tarot decks were from Northern Italy.

Are you Italian? Is it cultural appropriation?

Can I have a Celtic themed deck if I’m not Celtic? Are Egyptian themed decks okay? Am I allowed to have a faerie deck even if I’m not a faerie? What if I love the Ghetto Tarot?

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Is it cultural appropriation for anyone who isn’t Haitian to own this deck? (I plan on purchasing the Ghetto Tarot and anyone who doesn’t like it can kiss my ass.)

Anyway, I guess my point is this: either practice what you preach or shut the hell up.

 

 

My Feelings on The Wild Unknown Tarot

This is not a deck review.

This is more of an offshoot of my previous post on The Love and Light Disease.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have a suspicion that I’m not a fan of the super popular Wild Unknown Tarot. I’m not just a bully. I’ve got reasons.

The fad of “spirituality” has been ramping up for a while. It’s gained boosts from shit like yoga’s explosion in popularity, fantasy witchcraft’s prominence in media, and the sudden realization of what “religion” does do civilization.

“Spirituality’s” latest kick in the ass upwards into popularity has been the Wild Unknown Tarot deck. Wide-eyed newcomers to the world of spirituality gravitate toward it because some of the artwork is fucking gorgeous and, let’s face it, there’s nothing dark or scary about this deck. For those just leaving religions that damn the tarot, they’re nervous to even pick a deck up. But this one is happy and smiling. It’s simple and nonthreatening. And according to the guidebook, it never has bad news for you.

Enter THE LOVE AND LIGHT DISEASE.

These people fail to realize that there are those of us out here who have had tarot decks spread out on the coffee table before the Wild Unknown Tarot had even been dreamt up by its creator.

I own this deck. It was my fourth tarot deck and I got it back when the only place to buy it was on Etsy. The Moon card was pretty badass, but other than that, it felt hollow. Personally, I couldn’t connect with it. I got excited when there was talk of a guidebook being made, but once it arrived, red flags started popping up.

Everything was rainbows and butterflies. Literally. Even the Three of Swords wasn’t so bad, according to this book. No reverse meanings were even mentioned. Now I don’t read reversals anyway, but it struck me because reversed meanings of cards are usually negative.

The guidebook was exactly reinforcing the shallow bullshit of the people who were swooning over it. This was when I decided that my energy would be better spent connecting with a different deck.

This was a turning point for tarot. It went from something quiet and meaningful to a tangled mess of popularity.

But my final straw was this Second Edition horse shit. What the actual fuck is this? It’s finally been outted as what I suspected it was all along: a greedy ass money making scheme.

Dumb it down so it can be easily swallowed by the masses. I want money from fucking everyone. Twice. Three times, if I can get it.

What started as a neat deck has become a massive validation for fluff and continues to wring money out of people worldwide.

So do I hate the deck? I would go with dislike, but that’s just my personal preference as far as physical decks go. But what I do hate is what it stands for.

 

 

 

Selling Spirituality: Not Always a Scam

BOGO yoga classes!

$70.00 second edition tarot decks!

Sign up and pay now to reserve your spot in our ecourse on crystal healing/meditations/reading tarot/spirit guide connecting/chakra aligning/pendulum dowsing/astrology 101! IT COMES WITH A CERTIFICATE!

How the hell are you supposed to know if you’re buying something that will benefit you, or if you’re being gouged for your hard earned cash?

I’m here to (hopefully) help you decipher bullshit from people who are honestly here to help you on your spiritual journey.

Let’s start with yoga. If you’ve never been to a yoga class, go to a few. If you’ve been to at least three yoga classes, stop going to that shit. Right now. Take the leggings off and cancel your 4:30 Vinyasa Flow. Those bitches are gouging you for all you’re worth. They’ll act all mystical about it, but the truth is that yoga (the few original poses) was really just to help young monks-in-training to get their energy out before being expected to sit in perfect silence and stillness to meditate. That shit is a children’s recess game. Every time you unroll your mat on a sticky yoga studio floor, you’re putting another quarter into their little machine. Once you’ve got the basics, do it yourself, for yourself.

Now physical items are a different thing altogether. This one can seem tricky, but it’s not if you just remember these three little words:

Consider the source.

Oh look! A tarot deck I already have is coming out with a second edition! Everything is the same except for The Star card! It must be special because it’s twice the price of the first edition!

Did you do it? Did you buy the second edition? Then you, my friend, have fallen prey to a scam to separate you from your money masquerading as spirituality.

If this hypothetical deck’s first edition has already made its creator millions and the only difference between the first and second editions is ten minutes worth of work, that shit isn’t worth a dime more. You know they’ve got a printer spitting out an entire deck in 30 seconds. And guess what? It’s going to tell you the exact same shit that the first edition did, you’re just $70 poorer.

Meanwhile, there are artists who have just created new decks with fresh artwork and original ideas. If you find one you love, get that shit. If you’re itching to blow money, find a good one. But don’t allow yourself to be swindled.

There are also things like crystals and wands and shit. Expect to pay money for these. Crystals have to be mined, cleaned, (maybe) polished, and shipped, and the people involved in this process must be paid as well. With things like wands, chalices, and jewelry, there are always options. Some things are stamped out in a factory by machines, don’t let a “brand name” trick you into paying more than it’s worth. On the flip side, don’t bitch when a hand carved wand or a handmade necklace costs more.

I’ll be honest here: I’m more skeptical about ecourses than anything else. Do you need an ecourse? I mean, do you NEED it?

No.

There, I answered for you. There is a plethora of free information online for you to peruse. BUT, if you want to take an ecourse, be my guest. The truth is, though, that no sheet of paper is required for any aspect of spirituality. If the ecourse looks fun and you want to do assignments and ask questions and have classmates, good for you. But it’s just for fun and don’t let them convince you otherwise.

Finally, I’m sick to death of people bitching about advertisement of spiritual goods on social media. Pages on Facebook and Instagram are pretty clear that they’re trying to sell you something if that’s what they’re trying to do. Don’t like or follow a page with a link to an etsy shop in the bio and then fucking act surprised. Giveaways and photo challenges are great ways to advertise and they’re fun for everyone. Is it marketing? Yep. If you don’t like it, don’t fucking enter it. But what if there’s someone out there with a great product, but you just haven’t heard of it? So shut the hell up.

Consider the source.

Consider the source.

Consider the source.