FROM FEAR TO MEDICINE: USING THE TAROT TO FACE WHAT SCARES US

The Tarot is both a mirror and an evolutionary invitation towards change. Lindsay Mack offers us a guide to the so-called “scary” cards and reveals how we can use our decks to turn fear to medicine …

Fear is a highly unpleasant, but profoundly important emotion — one that deserves a place at our table of feelings.

Fear, when considered for what it is, can offer information, wise counsel, direction, and clarity on our deeper feelings. We don’t have to believe everything our fear communicates to us, but it can be transformative to hear it out. By doing so, fear can become an ally, especially when we understand the strength that can arise within us through working with it.

Fear has always been a very deep teacher in my life. I live with a long term brain condition. I’m a healthy and joyful survivor of extreme childhood abuse, and have worked through complex PTSD for most of my life. I have traveled through some of the darkest places a person can experience, and every time I take one of those journeys “through the woods,” I am shifted for the better, having gained deeper strength, trust, and faith, my fear shifting into medicine with wisdom to offer me. The more wisdom I cultivate through those paths of darkness, the more I have to offer to myself, my students, and my clients.

The Tarot is a profoundly useful tool to turn to in moments of fear, trauma and stress. It can help to contextualize what’s happening underneath our fear, and how it is trying to help us evolve. It can also bring a visual landscape to something that we may not be able to communicate or understand with words. Whether you are a reader or not, The Tarot can be a deep aid in moments of darkness.

There are six Tarot cards in particular that, when we look at them through a soul centered lens, offer a beautiful invitation to evolve through fear.

Read on for how use them as guides in our own journey, exploring what it means for us to shift from fear to medicine. You can also check out my brand new course, From Fear to Medicine: A Six Week Journey into the “Scary” Cards of the Tarot. The first class begins on April 22nd – find out more HERE

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// THE FOOL // Trusting The Invisible
Have you ever been called to take a giant leap of faith with hardly any proof that it will pay off? If you have, you’ve been in the energy of The Fool. It is the invitation to jump into the unknown, and begin a whole new cycle of our lives. We are drawn to the edge of a cliff in this card, but it is up to us to jump off of it. The soul work that we are asked to do in this card is to trust ourselves, and trust the invisible.

To our brain chemistry, The Fool can feel like death, a loss of control for the ego. If we can move through this deep contraction with mindfulness, leaping into the unseen, the treasures we will gain will be priceless. We will begin to truly know that when we jump in The Fool, we will be supported. We will begin to trust our intuition, and we will be a co-creator in our own evolution and growth. Trusting the invisible takes deep work. The Fool is here to help us learn.

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// WHEEL OF FORTUNE // Centering in the midst of change
The Wheel of Fortune heralds the coming of great change, the marriage between our choices and our destiny. The change that Wheel of Fortune brings is always for our good. There is no “bad” turn on this card, and there is no reversal.

When we work with the Wheel of Fortune, we can never see the change that’s coming. It teaches us to root into the unknown, and to stay centered in the Wheel, rather than flailing on the outer edges. When we work with this card, we get to learn how to root into ourselves in times of change, staying calm in the eye of the storm. Beautiful wisdom for life.

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// DEATH // Sacred Compost
There is no greater metaphor for the Death card than that of composting. I eat you, then you eat me. Nothing truly dies in the Death card, just like nothing ever truly dies here on Earth. It merely changes form, becoming a different version of what it was.

The Death card is the transformation of something – a relationship, a thought pattern, a belief – into something new. When we work in this card, it is a signal that we are no longer being fed by something growing in the garden of our lives. It lets us know that it is time to pull the weeds up and allow it to become sacred fertilizer, encouraging the new things in our lives to grow. The work we do in this card is profound ego surrender, letting go of the things that are ready to go.

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// THE DEVIL // Blessing the Shadow
The Devil is an opportunity to look deeply at our shadow. Are we judging ourselves? Believing that there is something wrong with us? Are we spiraling into an old, destructive pattern out of fear or contraction? If we are, The Devil will let us know.

If we pull this card, it is a sign that we are doing everything right. The Devil always shows up as a little mindfulness bell around our expansion, letting us know that the brain is trying to pull us into some old, limiting patterns to keep us in what it perceives as safe and known. We get to drop into these patterns and say no thank you to the invitation, whatever it may be. By doing so, we liberate ourselves from believing that we are “bad” or “wrong,” to thinking that there is anything adverse about us for our desires or our anger, and allowing all parts of ourselves to just be there.

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// THE TOWER // When Things go Wrong
Everyone has experienced a Tower moment in their lives. It is a moment where it truly feels like everything has gone wrong – it can feel like we are living in a nightmare. A beautiful metaphor for The Tower is a forest fire. We watch everything burn, knowing that it is clearing the soil for new growth.

It is an intentional shaking of the foundations underneath us, all to help us grow, and shed some part of ourselves that is no longer aligned with our expansion. The Tower can be intensely uncomfortable, or it can be a very minor, internal experience. When we survive and move through Tower experiences, we emerge stronger, clearer and transformed, our lives shifted on its very axis.

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// THE MOON // Floating in the Darkness
In The Moon card, we learn how to hang out in the Void – no easy feat! Ruled by Pisces, this card goes as deep as it can go. It is an experience of truly not knowing where we are going next, not having any answers, and feeling like we are floating back into old, shadowy feelings and emotions. To experience this can be very uncomfortable, and can make us want to really swim to shore, to find the light, to get some semblance of clarity and direction.

But, the more we kick, the deeper the waves become. We eventually learn the most profound surrender in The Moon card, letting the darkness become an ally, learning from the quiet, tuning in with ourselves beyond the din of our ego. When the light finally dawns, we learn that we have been moving all along, allowing the currents to take us to our next destination.

Want to go deeper into these energies, and learn how to work with your own fear in a mindful, empowered way? Please join me for my brand new course, From Fear to Medicine: A Six Week Journey into the “Scary” Cards of the Tarot. The first class begins on April 22nd – find out more HERE

EMBODY YOUR POWER: A MESSAGE FOR AMERICA

Welcome to a collective wake-up call for us to embody true power. As the dust begins to settle on the 2016 presidential election, Molly Burkett has a message for America…Portrait: Najva Sol 

 

Election night I’ll admit, I checked the coverage with feigned interest. As the daughter of a Marxist and a Neo-Pagan, I’ve grown up removed from any type of rousing faith in our political system. Beyond what Bernie represented. When he spoke in Washington Square Park in New York, I cried. (And I’ve never been moved to tears by a man in a suit, with the exception of Don Draper).

Nonetheless, of course I assumed Hilary would win, and that would be that. I went to sleep.

I was shocked, along with the rest of you, to wake up and see how things had unfolded. The following essay immediately began coming through. So I started typing, and I share it with you here to offer comfort in this time of grief, confusion, and fear, and to offer my perspective to the question we’re all asking: “Is this a joke?”

:: A MESSAGE FOR AMERICA ::

The process of spiritual awakening, often referred to as “healing,” is actually a great clearing—as all that is NOT love is released from the body. This is cathartic yet painful, like venom being drawn from a snake bite. All your fear and selfishness is often revealed to you in dramatic ways. Emotional trauma held in cellular memory begins to come up to be dissolved. Painful personal histories flash before your eyes like it happened yesterday. Anxiety, panic, anger, inflammation and PTSD-like symptoms are common as part of this process.

Sensitivity grows both psychically and physically. You are more attuned to the needs, feelings and wants of others, because you are coming to the realization that you are not separate, that serving them serves you. You also become less numb to the effects of toxins in food, drink, conversations, movies and TV, and are forced to update your lifestyle accordingly. The catalyst for awakening as individuals is often a great tragedy or sudden injury that humbles us and forces us to reevaluate our lives and commit to making changes. No wonder we call it a “wake-up call.” I believe Trump is a collective wake-up call for us to change our ways as a nation.

Deepak Chopra says Donald Trump is an example of someone who holds so much trauma within him it has kept him infantilized, forever remaining in the lower chakras: reactive, survival-based, and deeply, deeply afraid. He rests in narcissism, never evolving to the higher consciousness where compassion is awakened and our interdependence is felt, known, and acted upon. It is from this injured place of fear and illusion that all violence stems. All violence towards others is ultimately a form of self-hatred and self-destruction, an attempt to mend a hurt in a way that regrettably, only causes more pain for ourselves.

So where do we go from here? I see a pathway.

Trump is a wounded child with a loaded gun. He will mirror to us in America our own wounds: our fears, our hatreds, our prejudices. His presence will draw out the darkest elements of the American collective being, and force us to bear witness to the ways we too have justified violent behavior, violent speech or violent thoughts in our lives.

Micro-violence in the form of gossip, complaining, judging, assuming, insulting and demeaning each other are among the seeds of large-scale violence in the form of systemic racism, misogyny and sexual assault, and abuse of natural resources. There will be a proliferation of this violence and it will be painful. There will be more terrible, vitriolic hate speech. There will be lives sacrificed. But there will also be redemption. There will be resistance, and activism. For women, for minorities, for immigrants, for the LGBTQ community, for the rights of all people to live a healthy and happy life. For nature, to heal and to be honored and ultimately be recognized as the source of all life and healing.

I believe in the power and potential of the American people, starting with you. I suggest you use this as an opportunity to embody the character traits that you wish you were seeing in the American president. What is your image of power that is also power for the people, and power for Mother Nature? What is your image of a divine protector or a sacred warrior who will protect our food, our water, our children, and lead us all to greater cooperation and peace?

Practice all the qualities of a great leader today in your own life. Envision good triumphing over evil. Do not embrace defeat. Love does not necessarily prevail in the space and time and the form that you expect, want or understand, but it does indeed prevail. Love is the first and the last word. This is the trajectory we are on, our shared destiny, and it cannot be un-written.

Witness the horror and shock of this moment from a place of deep knowing within yourself. Keep yourself attuned to the fundamental truth that beyond the dramas of the past and projections of the future, all is well now. The sun rose today and it will set this evening. The air gives us oxygen, and with every exhale we encourage the flowers to bloom.

HOLY F*CK: CAN CASUAL SEX BE SPIRITUAL?

In the second installment of her column Holy F*ck, Alexandra Roxo questions if modern-day hookup culture can co-exist with a Numi gal’s desire for conscious dating and sex…

As I sat next to my two friends Malia and Loulou watching Marianne Williamson speak to a crowded LA auditorium, I slumped further and further down in my chair as she discussed that which had been keeping me busy post breakup for nearly nine months…CASUAL SEX. Her words: “When a man puts anything in any of your orifices he has unspoken claim on you”, stung me. And to add insult to injury she went on to state: “Some Buddhist teachings say after sex the energy of the other person doesn’t leave your aura for seven years.”

Shit. My aura was starting to feel real crowded.

Not to mention that on my way to see Marianne talk I had casually mentioned to my new friends how I had recently had phenomenal sex in the back of a Prius under the Hollywood sign with a TV actor in an open relationship after drinks at the Soho House. (#Cliché.) I laughed about it, but now I felt a little uneasy…

Last year when I broke up with my girlfriend of nearly two years and decided to try dating dudes again, I had a period of being “free.” Meaning I hit Tinder hard. I was still meditating. Practicing affirmations. Reading Marianne and Louise Hay. But I was also determined to learn how to have casual sex in a casual way. Remember the “Sex and the City” episode where Carrie tries to have sex like men and can’t? That was me.

But there I was on Tinder, wondering: is conscious dating and/or sex even possible through online apps? Can you explore deep sexual bliss with a stranger you drunk swiped on? In fact, can you explore sexual bliss with a stranger at all?

Obviously sex and religion is a whole big Pandora’s box I will not attempt to open, except to say that I do have massive PTSD from spending too many hours at “youth camp” where I was saved/told I was a sinner for being a sexual being. I’ve been healing from that for years as a non-religious “spiritual person,” but still many of the same judgements and questions continue to come up. Is casual sex an obstacle towards enlightenment or can it be an aid?

My friend Karley (a.k.a. Slutever) who is a sex writer and creative collaborator, turned me on to Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, who did a rad TED talk on how casual sex can be super healthy, which inspired me. In the last year I decided to fully commit myself to this quest. Oddly (or not – cause the Universe knows what it’s doing) I attracted quite a few “spiritual” dudes down for the cause. According to Dr. Zhana, healthy casual sex must be sober (at least pretty sober) and feel authentic to you. Once alcohol, drugs, and sadness enter, then it’s a whole ‘nother thing. Thing is, I couldn’t seem to get naked with a stranger without at least three drinks. (If this isn’t a sign I dunno what is!)

Then I started seeing someone. I thought maybe this was gonna be someone I would partner with for a long time. We meditated together. We have the same agents. We write and direct comedy. It seemed perfect. And it was – but only on paper. In person we didn’t get along and never laughed. So cut to the breakup, and the same night that a friend asked me to go a “very progressive” sex party. She said I could just watch and that it was going to be a great experience etc…I mean…how could I turn that down?

So in my fragile, broken state I put on a tight black dress and lipstick and got myself into an Uber, and embarrassingly sang the Weeknd’s “Hills” to the driver getting into my “empowered single woman” space, i.e. hot mess space. When I arrived at the sex party I stood on the sidelines until a man with a top knot and a jar of organic coconut oil offered me a Thai Massage. This seemed harmless enough. But then again I was drinking large amounts of Patron. And nothing under the influence of tequila is harmless.

As I was being twisted into yoga poses I heard strange gurgling sounds. When I opened my eyes I saw the woman next to me was double deep throating. I was shocked, and took another deep sip of tequila. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against deep throating – it was just that in my vulnerable state, it was all too much for me. It just didn’t feel like my truth.

I like to think that I’m “sexually progressive,” and open, and sex positive. I think I said yes to at least 2 out of 5 threesomes last year…but maybe that’s just not me anymore. Not my authentic truth now. Though, at this party I kept downing tequila hoping to “make it my truth,” and the next thing I knew I was laying in some couple’s arms, naked. I still have no idea how I made it home, though I did get a text from the wife who is a yoga teacher inviting me to class and telling me: “Congrats on no longer being vanilla!” If she only knew…

The next day I decided to stop drinking. To stop smoking weed. And to stop having casual sex. At least for now. Because none of it seemed to be serving my highest good anymore. (Did it ever?) I had put so much pressure on myself to “be free” and have fun, but the truth was I was covering up loneliness and a feeling of separation from Source.

I can see that my true freedom now lies in healing my wounds, in meditation, and safe self exploration. But my fear was…does this make me…boring?! (Um, if anybody’s watched Be Here Nowish season two I basically wrote a character that I have become! Yoga pants and celibacy!) But you know what: I don’t give a f*ck about becoming boring. I haven’t drank or done drugs in over a month, and I’ve danced, laughed, and sung a ton recently, and felt myself surrounded by beauty and magic.

I’ve also just come off a 3-day meditation retreat where I chanted and sat in a circle for three eight hour stretches with amazing humans deep in spiritual search, which is something I’ve been actively in, off and on, for the last 15 years. I realized how sometimes I veer so far from this part of myself, and thank GODDESS something always brings me back. This time in the form of a best friend who I’ve known for 14 years, Rebecca, beckoning me to Berkeley. And hours of meditation and chanting and crying and healing brought me back, yet again, to myself. The self who is held by Source, and doesn’t need to be held by random strangers.

The truth is, as much as I want to believe in the glories of casual sex, I don’t think it brings me personally closer towards Bliss, Peace, and Spirit. If it works for you then that’s beautiful and more power to ya. For me, I hope and think that having sex with someone I love deeply in a soul partner way will do that.

Until then I’ll go back to what I’ve been doing more of what I’ve loved since I was 19 years old…chanting my kundalini mantras, singing Steve Winwood’s Higher Love at the top of my lungs, making Shiva+Shakti cosmic union collages and altars, getting high off raw chocolate, and doing my girl Elyssa’s soul mate manifesting meditation.

Alexandra Roxo is an LA based filmmaker and actress who is currently developing a holistic coaching business. She has a company called Purple Milk that makes all kinds of fun stuff including the popular web series Be Here Nowish. Follow her on Insta here and read her past Numinous articles on Now Age love and sex here