Reviews of Naked Tarot

NTmontageI haven't Googled myself or my work for years, so I'm just now discovering some reviews of my last book Naked Tarot.

In print, a review from Rahvym Corvus appears in the latest edition of Witches and Pagans Magazine (#39). 

Online, Raushanna posted a review in the same year my book came out (2018) at PaganPages.org.

At 110K+ pages, Naked Tarot was (is) truly a labor of love. If you've read it, let me know in the comments below what you've learned from it.


Easter Junk Journal Flip Through

Wow, it's been a long time since I've blogged! :o) Been relaxing into Earth energy by creating with paper and making junk journals. Here's two videos, one showing the unembellished version:

and the finished, blinged-out version:

This handmade journal is available in our ChezBoyer Etsy Shop here.

What have YOU been creating lately? Do share in the comments below!


The Joys of Junk Journaling

Not sure what got me on the Junk Journaling path earlier this year, but here I am. Any other junk journal junkies out there?

My first junk journal was for Halloween and had a macabre "embalmer/funeral director" theme. Here's a flip through of the finished product (I gave it to an online acquaintance):

Yesterday, I finished stitching a Christmas Junk Journal (my 2nd full-length one). Flip through below:

Haven't shared much of my jewelry designs on here (I've been making jewelry for over two years now)--so I'm applying that to making ephemera for junk journals--for example, "journal jewelry", "bling" or dangles (as they're often called. Here's two sets below (might make some for Christmas), that are in our ChezBoyer Etsy Shop here:Dangle capture

Also, some beaded and fabric tassels (found here):

Tassels

But I admit--my favorite media to work with these days are paper, ink and string. It grounds me--the complete opposite of writing. Elementally speaking if writing is Air (and some Fire, for motivation)--then Junk Journaling (and paper crafting) is Earth, with a good dose of Water.

And interesting flip, considering I was so Air/Fire for so long. 

I'm glad for the "balancing"--and grounding. It suits me now. 

For now. 


Tarot Look-Alikes Now on Kindle Vella

Have you heard of Kindle Vella? It's Amazon.com's newest venture--a way to read stories in episode format on the Kindle iOS app or online. It's like an app in that you buy a certain number of coins and you can use them to read episodes. 

My newest work, Tarot Look-a-Likes, is now up on Vella at this link. Nine "episodes" are already published.

Look1

If you ever wondered what differentiates similar looking cards (e.g. 2 and 3 of Wands)--or ones with similar energies (e.g. Celebration: 3 of Cups, 4 of Wands and 6 of Wands)--this series is for you.


Four Reasons You're Living an Inauthentic Life (and How to Fix Them for Authentic Living)

Our core values are things we hold deeply. To live an authentic life, our actions, decisions and investments must be aligned with those values. Otherwise, we live inauthentically--and wonder why we feel a lack of purpose or personal meaning.

Black Mask smallerMany are out of alignment with their true values because:

  1. They never stopped to identify them (if you don't know your values, you can't live in alignment with them)
  2. They're living according to someone else's values (parents, teachers, peers, culture, religion, media)
  3. They've outgrown past values (yep, your values can--and do--change!)
  4. They've deemed some of their true values as frivolous, embarrassing or immoral

Have you took the time to consider a host of values so you can drill down to figure out yours? My free list of values for you to explore will help you determine your core values. Click here to grab it from DropBox. 

Do any of the values on the list make your blood boil? Stirs your heart? Makes you wish the world would change to reflect? These are important clues as to what you really, truly value.

When examining the list and narrowing down potential values, ask yourself: "Is this really my value? Or is it one my religion says I should have? Did I pick this up from the media as something trendy or important--or perhaps this is a value my Mom, Dad, favorite teacher or culture holds dear?"

Believe it or not, your values can change. What you value at age 20 may not be what you value at age 50. As you change, your values may change. This could be because of a life-altering event such as serious illness, natural catastrophe, accident, loss of a loved one or a pandemic. Or, on the happier end, a joyful marriage, new baby, job promotion, spiritual epiphany or positive lifestyle changes.

Lastly, some people discount a deeply held value because they're embarrassed about it. Perhaps a religious tradition deemed certain values "bad" or "immoral"--like Wealth, Achievement, Fame or even Beauty. But no value on the list I provided is "bad" or "good"; they're all neutral. If you have a core value, you can't just say "Well, I don't value that" when, in fact, you do hold it dear. 

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Ignoring or sublimating it will just make you miserable--and you'll likely act and choose according to your value anyway, even if subconsciously. Your inner critic will then likely eat at you, shaming you for pursuing that value (let alone think about it). 

So it's time to come clean. Figure out your deeply held values. 

Your values. No one else's.

Then, start making choices--and spending time and money--on those values.

That is what authenticity is: living according to your core values. 

What about you, dear reader? Care to share your values? Need help discerning what your core values are? Noticing values you thought were yours--but aren't? Weigh in down below in the comments!

P.S. If you truly detest one of your core values, then you can always drill even deeper and ask yourself why that value is important to you. This is one of the things I can help with as a Life Purpose Coach.


Crafting a Life Purpose Icon

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Life purpose is a choice rather than an experience. It’s something we decide about life.” – Dr. Eric Maisel

Just coming off the Christmas/Yule holiday, many have watched the perennial favorite It’s a Wonderful Life

But, what if you’re not aiming for a wonderful life but, rather, a meaningful one?

For years, I’ve been a big fan of psychologist and creativity coach Dr. Eric Maisel. His books The Van Gogh Blues, Affirmations for Artists and Toxic Criticism are unparalleled.

But the book penned by him that I’ve found the most helpful has been Life Purpose Boot Camp: The 8-Week Breakthrough Plan for Creating a Meaningful Life. If you’ve ever struggled with existential angst—particularly questions of personal meaning, and especially if you’re a creative of any type—I feel you’d benefit greatly from this book (I know I have).

In the Myers-Briggs typology, the profiles most likely to experience this kind of angst are NFs (iNtuitive Feelers). The combination of the imaginative, idealistic and OMG-all-the-potential! of the iNtuitve persuasion coupled with Feeling’s subjectivity and relativism is a brew that flails, quests, gropes and/or gnashes the teeth in the search for meaning.

You can watch a brief interview about how to articulate life purpose below:

The interviewer asks Dr. Maisel for some examples of life purposes. He offered these:

  • Activism
  • Service
  • Strong Relationships
  • Creativity
  • Doing the Next “Right” Thing (Living According to One’s Principles)
  • Making Value-Based Meaning

It can be in “menu” form (listing what’s important to you)—or in crafting statements that encompass several things (incorporating values from your “menu” of life purposes).

And, what we find meaningful five years ago (or even last year) may not be all that meaningful this year.

As we change, so do our values, priorities and—yes—our life purposes.

Dr. Maisel goes on to stress that the most important component to meaningful living is to orient yourself, each day, towards your life purpose.

In the interview—and in Week 7 of the book—he explains how to create what he calls a Life Purpose Icon—a tangible image (or symbol) that captures your life purpose choices.

Just a universal symbols like a cross, Star of David or pentagram evoke great significance and associations for some religious folks, a personal symbol can also become a strong icon anchoring us in our deepest values—as well as a motif leading us to our best selves and a life full of meaning. (I just got an image of Batman’s Bat Signal glowing in the sky… Ha!).

So taking Dr. Maisel’s examples from the interview, how might we distill those life purposes into icons? Well, it will be personal, of course. But here are some symbols that I’ve brainstormed:

Activism – A symbol hinting at the type of activism, perhaps? Social justice may be Scales. Environmentalism might be a Tree. Animal rights could be a favorite furry, scaled or feathered creature. Non-violent resistance could be a peace sign. Some health advocates associate colors with particular diseases they’d like raise awareness for (e.g. pink for breast cancer, purple for Alzheimer’s, red for AIDS, multi-color puzzle piece of Autism, etc.).

Service – An outstretched hand? Connecting hands? A wrench?

Strong Relationships – A chain? Two tethered hearts? Stick people in a circle?

Creativity – Painter’s palette? Quill pen? Musical notes? Light bulb?

Doing the Next “Right” Thing (Living According to One’s Principles) – Exclamation mark? Check mark? Asterisk? Justice or Judgement Tarot card?

Obviously, there’s no wrong way to create a Life Purpose Icon because it’s personal—whatever is meaningful to you.

In this vein, choosing a Word of the Year (or three words) is another way to focus on what truly matters to you. Over at Inc.com, Megy Karydes shares her 5 Tips on Crafting an Inspirational Mantra (that you can use all year long).  For some, this method is more goal-oriented rather than meaning-oriented—but you can still use it to distill your chosen life purposes.

At qz.com, Rose Spinks encourages us NOT to make New Year’s Resolutions (she calls them a “scam”) but, instead, create what she calls a Life Thesis. I love how she sums up her article:

As it turns out, when you take away expectations and shame and pressure, humans tend to be rather intelligent about choosing what’s good for them. Chances are, if you craft a thesis that truly honors what you want your life to look like, your daily habits and actions will align to create that life, too. It’ll feel less like a moving target, and more like finding your center of gravity.

After seeing three Tarot books published in 2018 (!)—five full-length books in the last ten years—I feel a drawing towards process. I’m moving away from words and mandates like “productivity”, “publicity”, “sales”, “accomplishment”, “professional” and “business”. In fact, as I was talking earlier this evening to my husband (about, what else…meaning!—especially in terms of art), I uttered the phrase No End In Mind.

That is, play. Creativity for creativity’s sake. Enjoying the journey without a destination.

You don’t see a 3-year-old ponder self-worth, artistic prowess or marketability, right?

My values are changing. Have changed.

And so are some of my Life Purposes.

I’ll make some icons to reflect those—as touchstones for the upcoming year. Reminders of where I’m at now (not where I was, or even where I think I want to be).

What about you, dear Reader? Have you pondered your Life Purposes lately? Made choices as to what they are? Or even created icons, symbols or talismans to reflect those Life Purposes? Do share in the comments below!

-- Janet


Should Talented Writers Stop Writing?

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On Twitter, Stephen Langlois asked:

Stephen

Now, let me just say this guy isn't a self-published hack (I checked his Twitter bio, snob that I am). In fact, he's a NYC Emerging Writer Fellow at the Center for Fiction--and his work has been featured in Hobart Pulp, Barrelhouse, Joyland Magazine and Split Lip Magazine.

I tweeted back to him:

 

 

 

 

He then replied "Life is too short to be miserable--indeed! Thank you for sharing!"

I continued:

It's true. Now, if writing gave you supreme pleasure--money and/or audience be damned--I'd say keep going. But when writing starts to become a drain, you have to ask "Is it really worth it?" Talent doesn't demand our slavery.

Just because we're good at something--even really good--it doesn't mean we have to do it. We don't owe anyone anything in this life. In fact, we don't even have to do it if it helps people. 

Imagine that.


Tarot in the Time of Coronavirus - Hermit and Temperance

Those with strong Hermit archetypes have already been self-isolating. In fact, self-quarantine is a natural state of being. The Hermit goes it alone, seeking knowledge--and trusting that his next step is lit by destiny. This energy is comfortable by itself, not needing the company of others to entertain, distract or solace.

And yet, an actualized Hermit can also embrace others into his/her sphere, experiencing exquisite intimacy and demonstrating extraordinary compassion. (Usually, this is limited to smaller groups, because the energy output is just too much for the Hermit archetype--even among extroverted ones!).

Temperance is a middle path, a synthesis. This Tarot card can indicate blending and practical alchemy, which would cover alternative healing remedies--especially ones that are taken internally (think tinctures, essential oil blends, poultices and tisanes)-- as well as more traditional apothecary. 

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In the Snowland Deck companion, the "secret" I came up with was Solitude prepares for vicissitude (because The Wheel of Fortune is often the next card in a traditional Tarot deck). In many ways, those with a strong, balanced Hermit archetype have an advantage, because they usually operate from their center by default. Just like on a merry-go-round, the center is less wobbly--and less dangerous. (Think of hanging on the edge of a merry-go-round as it spins quickly. Ack!)

Unfortunately, those unfamiliar with Hermit energy may feel off kilter during these times of COVID-19 (aka the coronavirus). Just a few minutes ago, the governor of my state announced that all schools will be shut down for at least 2 weeks. Disneyland and Walt Disney World are closed. Live talk shows are performing with empty in-person audiences. Some places are ghost towns.

Many have chosen social distancing. Some are doing it because they are infected; others, because they fear infection. To some extent, though, this isolation is forced (whether by lower-chakra fears or by Temperance's practicality). 

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Blog posts are sprouting up, warning that loneliness will be on the rise--and with it, possible health challenges (physical, mental and emotional). For example, Scientific American posted "How to Prevent Loneliness in a Time of Social Distancing".

But the ailments they highlight stem from those who don't feel connected to others. Feeling connecting to others isn't dependent upon having them in physical proximity, however. In fact, many feel lonely among a sea of people.

I can't help but wonder if The Hermit would say:

You are not connected to your Self.  Your center. Your ground of Being. When you're alone, you're aware of this because of the physical separation from an Other--which only mirrors the internal disconnection of the One.

As Terence McKenna points out in the video below: You are the center of the mandala.

I suspect I'll have more to say about this.

For now, I'll leave you with this passage from the Coffee Tarot Companion Book's chapter of Seeking (our version of The Hermit card):

With the omnipresence of social media, individuals parade about their dozens (or hundreds) of Tarot decks and spirituality books—often surrounded by glitzy crystals, fragile flower petals, fresh herbs, glowing candles and smoking palo santo sticks. Pretty to look at, sure—and certainly an enticement to buy more, more, more (after all, gotta keep up with the Body/Mind/Spirit Joneses, right?)—but do such public antics encourage going deeper? Acquiring, retaining and, more importantly, applying empowering knowledge? Only the Instagram posters can tell for sure. However, the biggest leaps of personal growth occur alone—without anyone watching, encouraging or commenting—or so says The Hermit.

Obviously, this passage goes one step further by implying "social media distancing", which brings a whole 'nother layer to The Hermit...

Stay safe everyone. And remember: at core, you're never truly alone. We're all connected.


Video Walk Through of the Coffee Tarot and Companion Book

I just posted a card-by-card walk-through of our Coffee Tarot Deck. You can watch below:

Also did a walk-through of the Coffee Tarot Companion Book:

You can get both our Coffee Tarot deck and the companion book on our Chez Boyer Etsy Shop here (including a digital version of the companion).

Which card (or cards) interest you most? Do share in the comments below! (And if you own our deck, let us know how it's working for you).