How Tarot Cards Really Work

There’s one question that my clients ask me more than any other:

“How the heck do you do this?”

They often say it slack-jawed, staring at me with a mixture of awe and skepticism, like I hold the magical, mystical answer to life, the universe, and everything. (Spoiler alert: I don’t.)

I’m adamant when I state I’m not psychic. I don’t know the lotto numbers, I have no idea which political candidate will win the next election, and, I’m sorry to say, I have no clue if your ex is ever coming back.

What I can do, however, is tap into the universal energy that’s all around us. This ancient, archetypal energy that connects all beings on this Earth is as prevalent now as it was 200,000 years ago, in the Middle Paleolithic era, when modern humans first began evolving. My ability to tap into this energy is very similar to what a Reiki practitioner might do during a long-distance session. 

Unlike a Reiki practitioner, however, I use tarot cards to project this energy outward, to translate it into shape and form, to give it context and meaning. 

I deal the cards one at a time, face down. Other tarot readers have other methods, but this one works best for me. This is because I prefer to focus on one card at a time, truly absorb it and take in the message before I relate it to every other card that’s come up in the spread.

The moment I flip over each card, taking in the image for the first time is like an instant jolt to my subconscious mind. A slew of ideas, thoughts, and further images flash in front of my eyes. Sometimes I need to pause and collect my thoughts before I can make sense of them, because my intuitive mind is so excited to play with the themes within the card. I’m not sure I could handle looking at an entire spread at once in that way! My mind might very well short-circuit from the instant intuitive overload.

So, then, the question I get second-most often is:

“How do tarot cards work?”

Ask this question of a dozen tarot readers, and you’re likely to get a dozen different answers. The reason for this is simple. Tarot is a tool. And like any tool, its usefulness and value are entirely based on who’s using it, and how.

What Tarot Is… And Isn’t

Long before I started reading tarot, I used the cards as story prompts. At the time, I was a romance novelist, and I’d discovered that examining the beautiful artwork on the various cards was an excellent way to create characters, come up with plot ideas, and develop extensive world building for my novels.

It’s not necessary to be a tarot reader, spiritual, or even intuitive to use a deck of tarot cards. You can use them as story prompts, journaling prompts, art inspiration, or even as bookmarks you slip into whatever physical book you’re currently reading

The cards are not magic. They’re merely ink and paper, not divinely projected artifacts.

The wisdom lies in you.

So — if you’re using the cards as I do, for self-discovery and introspection, then tarot can take on another dimension for you. Not a magical one, but a psychological one.  It becomes a metaphor for the journey of your life. It’s a mirror in which you can see yourself reflected back. And it can be used as an ephemeral key that unlocks your inner guidance system.

The standard 78 cards in a tarot deck hold infinite stories. Every human experience we have on this Earth can be found depicted in one of the cards. Not always literally, but that’s where our intuition comes in. The cards reveal the themes that keep coming up, over and over again, in our lives. They’re wonderful for kick-starting our thinking in a different direction, so we can approach our everyday lives with a deeper understanding of the concepts, threads, and motifs to focus on as we move forward.

But still, the question remains… why does this work?

I’ve given you my explanation above. I wholeheartedly believe I tap into universal energy when I do a reading and transform that energy into a physical presence through the use of tarot cards.

You, however, might be skeptical. So let’s explore a few other concepts and arguments that may be useful when attempting to figure out how and why tarot readings can be so incredibly on-point. 

Coincidence vs. Synchronicity

Carl Jung coined the term “synchronicity” to explain "the a-causal connection of two or more psychic and physical phenomena” when one of his patients had dreamt of a golden scarab, only to see it again appear in Jung’s office during their session the next day. Since these particular creatures were quite uncommon for the climate they were in, Jung began wondering about the connection between the scarab in the woman’s dream, and the scarab that appeared in his office.

Some of us would refer to this as coincidence and summarily dismiss it. 

But Jung thought there was something more at play. He believed synchronicity was a physical representation of the guiding forces of the universe. As such, he argued that we could see an incredible impact from simply noticing these synchronicities as we went about our lives. If we learned to recognize the messages from the universe, Jung claimed we could use them to make better decisions and guide the direction of our journey through life.

Thus, when a “random" tarot card appears in your reading, it could actually reflect your inner landscape, beliefs, and experiences in a synchronous way.

What If We’re Just Projecting?

Have you ever read those magazine horoscopes that are so generic, they sound as though they could apply to anyone? “Your family and friends love you. Expect challenges at work. Just keep going.” Of course you have. And yet, we all want to believe that those horoscopes were written specifically for us, that they’re relevant and intimately connected to our lives.

If the tarot holds the sum of human experience, then is it not safe to assume that any of the advice or themes that come up could also apply to just about anyone, at any time?

Well, yes. And no.

Let me explain.

Each card holds an infinite number of potential interpretations. This is why I’ve never been a big fan of memorizing meanings. There are times I look at a tarot card and instantly reject every traditional meaning. When I do this during my own reading, I often doubt myself, and I assume I’m shifting the message to suit my needs. Seeing what I want to see, and not what’s actually there because I’m intimately familiar with the situation and the players.

But this also happens frequently when I read for others. I usually apologize by default, assuming my interpretation must be wrong, but every time I’ve done it the client has let me know that the unconventional interpretation was spot on. So, in that case, how could I be projecting my non-existent knowledge of the situation into the images? 

The NFC Theory  

This is one of my favourites.

N - No

F - F*cking

C - Clue

Maybe it’s time we all admit we don’t really know how it works. The interesting thing is that we don’t need to know how something works in order to take full advantage of it.

I don’t understand the ins and outs of gravity, but I’m still not floating away into space.

I have no idea how my car engine works, but I drive just fine.

I’m still perplexed by the idea of invisible waves floating around us at all times, and yet I pick up my phone and text a friend, and — magic! — the text pings on the other side of the world thanks to those waves.

So, yeah, maybe we don’t really know why tarot cards work as well as they do. But if you’ve ever had a reading that left you speechless, or if you’ve ever pulled a card and immediately laughed, wanting to give the Universe the middle finger for hitting you over the head with what you already knew — well, then maybe you don’t need to fully understand in order to benefit from the wisdom inherent in those 78 cards.

Are you curious to see how a tarot reading would work for you, so you can make up your mind about which of these theories you believe? You can book your reading with me right here.

Still unsure? Here are just a few things my clients have said after a reading with me: 

"WOW! Just. WOW. I have so much more conviction and clarity around what to do next. Everything makes SO MUCH sense and is totally spot on. This literally blew my mind and every single expectation I ever had for a reading. You have such a way, and I hardly have words. Your intuition, presence, and power... just ... AMAZING! So freaking valuable. I'm grateful beyond words..” - Jacqueline Fisch, Writer and Writing Coach

"Thank you so so much for my reading. I have watched it 10 times over and had a good cry and taken some time to have a think about what you said.” - R. W.

"I just watched my tarot reading... You couldn't have been more bang on! It affirmed for me that I AM on the right path... that the work I'm doing is good and right and moving me forward. Thank you for this... it really is exactly what I needed to hear!” - Kim L.

Sea Melodies Deck: Unboxing & Reading

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this deck in exchange for an honest review. Some of the links included in this blog post are affiliate links. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Today’s unboxing and reading is something I’m really excited about, as it features the cutest oracle deck I’ve ever seen in my life: the Sea Melodies Oracle Deck by Rockpool Publishing.


If you’d prefer to see this unboxing in video format, you can do so here.

As I bring forth a better look at the Sea Melodies Deck, I hope you’ll also join me for a one card community reading. I would love for you to hear a message of comfort, hope, and inspiration that will hopefully resonate deeply with you -- straight from this lovely deck!


Aside from the deck being adorable, it is also very tiny. (It’s smaller than my hand!) The first thought I had when I saw the size of the deck was how the cards would make perfect pretty bookmarks. While I acknowledge that’s just the massive bookwork in me rearing its head, you’d definitely agree once you see how charming the illustration on the cards is. It would be so fab to just be able to whip a card out of the deck and stick it into a book you’re reading. That way, you’d also get a wonderful reminder from the universe every time you’d open that book! Pretty brilliant, right?

The box that the deck comes in is sturdy and stunning. It’s well-made with a magnetic lid that has this inscription:


Whenever you need inspiration and guidance, sit in a peaceful spot and draw a card from the deck. Allow the musings and melodies of the mermaids to clear your sights. Take solace in the legends and lore of the deep blue sea.

On the back of the box, there’s also a description that reads:

Be swept away by the endless ocean in a world of mermaid magic. This set of 40 inspiring cards beckons you to treasure the simple things and unravel the mysteries of the sea. When feeling lost in the currents of everyday life, let the enchanting songs of the mermaids guide you toward the right path.

Overall, this deck is beautiful and whimsical. It’s perfect for anyone who feels any kind of connection to mermaids or has interest in them. And just like most other decks created by Rockpool, the quality on this is top notch, with its solid and glossy finish. As for the illustration on the back of the cards... did I mention it’s magically gorgeous?

Without spoiling anything for you, here are just a few of the messages from the mermaids you’ll find inscribed on the cards…

AMBITION: Set your eyes beyond the horizon.

ANCHOR: Keep yourself grounded.

BREATHE: Break from beneath the water surface

and soar up beyond the turquoise sea.


Aside from being beautiful, the Sea Melodies deck doesn’t require a lot of interpretation the way most other oracle decks do. That makes it easy to use and understand. The cards are not image-heavy and rely mostly on words, so it’s almost like having the messages directly spoken to you.

How straightforward and easy to use is this deck, exactly? It doesn’t come with any sort of manual or guide. That’s how easy. It’s definitely an ideal deck for quick and light use.


After getting a good look at the Sea Melodies Oracle Deck, I gave it a good and extensive shuffle (which proved to be FUN because the deck is tiny) before I pulled out a card for all of us. Here’s the message from mermaids that we all need to hear…


“Protection: Keep some aquamarine close – mermaid tears

have been known to create these precious gems.”

What a lovely message! It’s perfect if you need spiritual protection or general protection from negative emotions. Maybe you need protection from getting your heart broken, or perhaps you need protection from entering into conflict with others... I feel like there’s so much of that going on in the world right now, and this message is definitely timely.

If you have an aquamarine gem handy, this would be a great time to pull it out and carry it around with you. You can use it to build up the energy shield so many of us need right now. And even if you don’t have aquamarine, you can still build that same level of energy shield bubble to comfort and encase you just by setting an intention to do so. If you’d like to take a minute and close your eyes, simply set the intention to build that protective energy bubble around yourself.

Here’s to hoping that your path in the world today is a little easier and a little bit safer!

What's the Right Spiritual Path for You?

For most of my life, I didn’t question my spiritual path. Heck, I didn’t even think I followed a particular path (even though I always did), and if you’d asked me a decade ago, I would have resolutely told you I don’t practice any kind of spirituality.

That changed when my daughter was born in early 2014 and I began to question my identity, my life purpose, and my entire existence. I realized there was more to life than the way I’d been living. More to my reality than what my senses could experience through sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. I started asking myself all kinds of philosophical questions, and began actively searching for answers—in books, on YouTube, and at live events.

I was looking for something bigger than myself. But in order to get there, I had to know… was I even on the right path?

If you’re reading this, then perhaps you’re struggling with the same question. You may be searching for the spiritual path that deeply resonates with your soul. You might have tried a few things, dabbled here and there, but you’re still uncertain and unsure about which is right for you.

While I can’t answer that question—because you are the only one who can—I'll offer a few areas for your consideration as you continue seeking the answers you need. 

The Religious Path vs. The Secular Path

We can’t really talk about choosing a spiritual path without considering the beliefs you were raised with. If religion was an important part of your life as you were growing up, it’s likely that you hold strong beliefs about the faith you were brought up with. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you'll have an easier time exploring your spirituality than those of us who were raised in non-denominational households. A recent survey showed that "many Americans—even among those raised in a single religion—ultimately adopt a religious identity that is completely different than the faith of their parents.”

Breaking away from your family’s beliefs can be incredibly difficult, especially as it may lead to some polarizing reactions from your family of origin. And while some people choose to explore other organized religious faiths, others decide to go the secular route and break free from any kind of regimented religious structures.

If you’ve been religiously wounded, finding your path is going to be fraught with skepticism, suspicion, and doubt. And that’s okay—it’s the way your own personal journey unfolds that matters. At some point, however, you’ll need to take a deep breath and trust that it’s time to start over, learn, and grow.

Following the secular path means turning inward instead of outward. Looking deep within for the answers you seek. But, again, that doesn’t mean this particular path is easy. (If it was, no one would ever struggle with the questions we’re addressing here.)

It takes a lot more trial-and-error to discover a secular journey that feels right because there’s no way to truly know if you’re doing it “correctly”. So that means you need to take more chances. Say “yes” to following the instruction of those who seem to have it figured out. Look for teachers and mentors who are sincere in their willingness to share their stories and their knowledge. Trust your gut when it leads you to a certain person—or away from someone. Read books, find people you connect with on social media, join communities, and go to in-person events. 

How do you know if you’re doing it right? Whether you choose a traditional religious path or a secular path, use the same method to check whether you’re moving in a direction that’s good for you. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I happier on this path than I was before I started?

  • Is my life transforming for the better?

  • Are my relationships improving?

  • Am I feeling better about myself in general?

  • Do I love being with other people who are on this same spiritual path?

If the answer to these questions is “yes!”, then keep going! If not, backtrack and explore a different direction.

Does Terminology Matter?

Some people have a difficult relationship with the term “God”. For them, this term represents patriarchy at its worst: a dictatorial, restrictive, misogynistic construct meant to control and confine.

For others, God represents benevolence, truth, gentleness, honesty, and kindness. It’s the peaceful feeling of being watched over and cared for, of being held and cradled, of never, ever being alone.

Same term—totally different reactions to the word.

As you embark on your spiritual journey and try to find your way, explore how you feel about the various terms for deity that are often linked to different faiths and spiritual paths.

I encourage you to grab a pen and your favorite journal, curl up somewhere comfortable, and explore your feelings around the following terms*:

  • God

  • Goddess

  • Jesus

  • The Holy Father

  • Creator

  • The All-Father

  • The Great Mother

  • Allah

  • Buddha 

  • Spirit

  • The Divine

  • The Universe

  • Universal Life Force

*Please note that this list is in no way all-inclusive! I encourage you to add your own.

Which of the above words resonate with you? Which feel like the ones you’d like to engage with deeply? Your answer may lead you to the spiritual path you’re meant to walk.

For example, if you’re drawn to Jesus and The Holy Father, exploring different branches of Christianity may lead you to find what you’re looking for. On the other hand, if you resonate strongly with the terms Goddess and The Great Mother, you may want to explore Paganism, Wicca, or New Age spirituality.

Beware of “The One True Way”

Be cautious of anyone who tells you there’s only one way to practice your spirituality, or that they alone understand the mind of God. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to a Christian priest, a Wiccan priestess, or a Buddhist, if they try to convince that their way is the only way, listen to your gut. And then run far, far away.

Also, beware of anyone who promises you certainty. There’s no way to be absolutely sure that St. Peter is waiting for you at the Pearly Gates, or that you’ll get your 72 virgins if you do everything you’re told in this life. There’s no burning bush, no choir of angels, no voice booming from above. It’s always just you, living up to your values, doing the best you can.

Finding the “Right” Way Doesn’t Mean There’s Actually a “Wrong” Way

We talked a lot about finding the path that feels good to you. The one that speaks to your soul, that makes you feel good and helps you transform your life for the better. But please remember that the most important words in this entire article are these two: FOR YOU.

Just because something is ideal for you doesn’t mean it would be just as perfect for someone else. Conversely, just because a path works wonderfully for your best friend, your mom, or your husband, doesn’t mean it’ll work just as well for you.

Despite that, keep in mind that we’re actually all on the same journey—we’re just finding our own ways there. We take separate roads, go wandering and exploring through the wilderness, find a highway and follow that for a while, and then perhaps we end up meandering through the desert. It’s all good, it’s all “right”, and it’s all a part of the process.

If you’re still in the exploring stage, I created a mini workbook to help you brainstorm and think through some of the questions I posed throughout this article. To download your free copy, just fill in your information below.

4 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Believed I Wasn't Creative

I grew up believing I wasn’t creative.

I’d always associated “creativity” with “visual art”, and from a young age, I was told I had no aptitude for drawing, painting, or mark-making of any kind. And I (like so many children my age) believed the adults who were adamant that I shouldn’t waste my time on something for which I clearly had no inherent talent.

Fast forward twenty years, and you can find me ensconced in my art studio on a daily basis. I have a particular fondness for mixed media art, but I’ve also been known to create charcoal sketches, play with encaustic medium, and work exclusively in oils.

While I’m not a full-time artist, I am an artist. It took me a long time to get to the point where I could describe myself using that term, but here I am, proudly announcing it to anyone who’ll listen.

If you struggle with labeling yourself “creative” (and the idea of introducing yourself as an “artist” leaves you breaking out in a cold sweat), here are four things I wish I’d known when I believed I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. I hope they help you as I know they’d have helped me.

What Exactly is Creativity, Anyway?

Wait—before we go any further, let’s clear something up: you can be creative in myriad ways that have nothing to do with visual art. You don’t need to be a painter to be creative any more than you need to be a chef to make a sandwich.

For the purposes of this article, when I talk about creativity, I’m referring to those creative urges that make you want to explore a new hobby, interest, or pursuit. The kinds of creative nudges that have your hands itching to pick up a paintbrush, scribble a poem, or knit a shawl.

Creativity is all a matter of perspective. It’s the way you look at the world from a new angle: upside down, inside out, slightly slanted.

Being creative means doing something different. Being willing to take risks and try something new, even though your efforts are likely to fail. Pushing yourself to come up with ideas, summon inspiration, and make things.

Creativity is available to anyone who’s willing to think about a problem in a different way.

So if you’ve ever said to yourself (or others) “Oh, I’m just not creative,” I urge you to think again.

#1. Being creative isn’t just about creating

I know, I know, it sounds like an oxymoron, but stay with me here. We often assume that creativity means producing something that didn’t exist before. And that’s true, to an extent, but there’s a necessary step that must occur before we generate an outcome for that initial creative nudge.

The first step in creating anything is coming up with an idea. And an idea, in itself, can be as simple as a sensation. As fleeting as a feeling. As ephemeral as an impression.

There’s value in generating ideas, flirting with them, mulling them around in your mind, and then eventually letting them out to play. That aspect of toying with new ideas can be just as satisfying as actually getting your hands dirty to turn the initial thought into a concrete piece of art.

#2. There’s magic in concocting something from nothing

Regardless of whether you believe in the possibility of Harry Potter-esque wizardry or not, you can’t deny the inherent sorcery that exists in the process of creation. Going from nothing to an idea, and then through the process of manifesting what started out as a stray thought all the way to a finished product is a type of magic. And it deserves recognition and respect.

We do ourselves a major disservice when we determine that our creative urges don’t matter. We deny ourselves the accomplishment of sparking that magic from the tips of our fingers and weaving our life experiences, our viewpoint, and our flashes of inspiration into something that’s uniquely ours.

#3. No one else in the world can create exactly like me (or Picasso, or you)

Sure, we can all imitate Picasso. And there are forgers out there who come damn close to creating a perfect replica of a Picasso painting. But that’s not creativity. It’s paint-by-numbers.

A truly creative work, on the other hand, is like a snowflake or a fingerprint—there are no two alike. When you allow your inspiration to go wild, you’ll start combining ideas into something that’s entirely your own. Your imagination stirs and beckons, and your brain creates new combinations from various concepts.

Which brings me to the next point…

#4. My creativity is an extension of my legacy

Think of it this way: you give birth to the people you leave behind who are proof that you once existed. Similarly, you give birth to creative ideas that do the same thing.

That novel you write in 20-minute increments during your lunch hour becomes your legacy.

The song you compose with your headphones on while your husband plays video games becomes your legacy.

The scrapbook you lovingly build photo by photo becomes your legacy.

A legacy doesn’t mean you have to become famous. It simply means you leave a little piece of yourself behind. When you create, you imbue your handiwork with your soul, your passion, and your originality. And even if one other person ever sees it, it's an incredible gift to give.

Repeat after me: “I am creative."

If there’s one theme that sums up all of the above points, it’s this: we are all creative.

Creativity is one of those gifts we were all given as we made our way into this world. It’s not something reserved for the uniquely blessed among us. It is, however, something we venerate and put on a pedestal.

We look at creativity as the purview of the Lady Gagas and Motzarts of the world, but that’s just not true. I am creative. You are creative. Your child is incredibly creative.

And so’s uncle Bob, aunt Sue, your boss, your mailman, your next-door neighbor, and the lady on the street corner holding the sign that reads “I spent all my money on cardboard and a marker."

Call up crystal energy to help you on your journey

Crystals are incredible energetic conduits. They harness the energy of the elements, and they help us channel our intentions into manifesting the outcomes we desire. 

If you’re actively working on embracing your own creative identity, I’ve created a printable PDF with a list and in-depth description of the types of crystals you could work with on your journey.

Get yours, for FREE, by filling out your name and email address in the box below.

9 Crystals To Help You Embrace Your Creativity

Download the printable PDF and spark your creative potential!

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    How to Motivate Yourself | Tarot Guidance & Advice

    How many times have you set a goal but didn’t follow through? Oh, sure, maybe you were super excited when you set out to achieve it. And maybe you even went at it with a vengeance for a day, a week, or even a month. But then the momentum fizzled, and you couldn’t remember why this goal was so important to you in the first place. Before you knew it, it had fallen by the wayside, along with a myriad of other goals you’d set over the years but didn’t follow through to be able to check them off and celebrate the achievement.

    The good news is: this is normal. It happens to all of us. It happens to the best of us.

    You know why? Because we’re human.

    Something more interesting comes up. Our momentum fades, our motivation lessens, and we’re off and running to chase the next thing (which we may or may not give up on as well).

    Right, so that’s the good news. Then what’s the bad news?

    The bad news is: the reason you give up on your goals is because you’ve failed to take your emotions into account. It’s your feelings that make the biggest impact on whether or not you’re going to carry on with a specific endeavour. And if you fail to take those into account, well, you’ve pretty much planned to fail.

    Planning comes from thinking. Acting comes from feeling.

    Or, put another way:

    You plan from your head. You act from your heart.

    It sounds simplistic, doesn’t it? Maybe even a little woo-woo. But think back to a time when you felt unmotivated to go the gym, even though you’d set a goal that you’d do it a number of times per week. Logically, you wanted to go. You wanted to get healthy, stay accountable to yourself, and meet your goal.

    But inwardly, you just weren’t feeling it. (Right? That’s the phrase we use, too. “I’m not feeling it.”) Your heart wanted something different: a nap, a movie marathon, a bath. Whatever. Something that had nothing to do with how fast you could run on a treadmill while dozens of sweat-soaked people flexed their muscles around you.

    So you didn’t go. You stayed home, gave in to your feelings, and watched those goals get further and further away.

    Now, I’m certainly not saying that listening to your feelings is a bad thing! Those naps and movie marathons and bubble baths certainly have their place. Just not right at the very moment when you’re trying to achieve something that’s important to you.

    So, now that you know your heart and mind need to work in tandem to help you reach your goals, well, how exactly do you do that?

    I reached for my 78 Tarot Carnival (Cirque du Tarot edition) and asked for some universal guidance we can all turn to when we need to re-ignite the dwindling fires of motivation.

    Get Out From Under The Burden Of Overwhelm: 10 of Wands

    2018-07-25 00.02.35.jpg

    Before we delve into the message of this card, I want to draw your attention to its exceptionally beautiful design. Consider the way this girl's burdens are written right on her face and skin. The uniqueness of her identity comes out strongly in this card, as does the fact that she is overwhelmed. You can see the overwhelm in her eyes and in the way she's holding up her hands.

    Her message is loud and clear: it’s damn hard to stay motivated when you are completely and totally overwhelmed.

    When your motivation starts to fade, it's not because your goals are becoming less important. Nor is it because you're lazy (far from it!). It's simply because your responsibilities, the duties you've taken on alongside the goals you've set for yourself, are just too much to bear. 

    You can't take care of yourself, or focus on your goals, when you put all your energy and resources into what you believe you owe other people. Even those duties you've take on willingly: like your job, taking care of your family, overseeing your household, and nurturing your pets, can all prove to be too much.

    Action Step: Grab a piece of paper and write down all the things you’re responsible for this week. Everything from taking out the trash to cooking dinner for your family and writing that big fundraising proposal should all be on this list. Then ask yourself, logically, is there room for you to commit to what you need to do in order to meet your goal? If it's going to the gym, are you actually able to commit to an hour every couple of days? Is that reasonable? Is it logical? Is it something you can actually do? Then consider whether you can delegate some of your responsibilities. Can you take a few things off your plate and free up some time? And more importantly, can you free up some energy for the things that you want to do for yourself?

    Quiet Your Inner Critic: 8 of Swords (Reversed)

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    Similarly to the 10 of Wands, above, the 8 of Swords is asking you to contemplate how you handle your burdens. In this case, the card is drawing your attention to the mental load you carry, as well as the way you talk to yourself. It’s asking you to question all the negative thoughts that go through your head on a daily basis. Does your inner critic often come out to play? Does she say things like, “You can’t do it.”, “You’re not good enough.”, “You don’t know enough.”, “You’re not ready.”? All those thoughts can hold you back from achieving your goals.

    Some people are afraid of failure. Some are afraid of success. Yet others are just afraid; and live in a permanent state of fear. Even if you don’t recognize it as such, if you’re living in a state of fear, that sensation—that intense anxiety--holds you back. It keeps you small, and it keeps you from going after your dreams. It’s so much safer to stay home and watch Netflix than it is to put all the energy and effort into meeting a big goal, even though you logically know you desperately want to, and yet you just… don’t. 

    However, this card has come up reversed. And it’s drawing your attention to the fact that by setting that goal in the first place, you know that whatever negative self-talk you have around achieving that goal, is not true. Inherently, you are aware that you are capable of more than you know, but you are still letting your thoughts hold you back.

    Often when your self-motivation begins to fade, and you find yourself unable or unwilling to move forward on a goal, it’s because you’ve subconsciously convinced yourself that you can’t do it anyway, so what’s the point?

    Action Step: The next time you're struggling to get something done, pause and consider the way you’ve been talking to yourself. Have you been inadvertently convincing yourself that you are not good enough? If so, you may have started to believe it. Remind yourself that your inner critic is wrong. You are capable of incredible things! If, however, you realize that you don’t have enough information to move forward, then that can become your next goal. You can take a class, read a book, or enhance your knowledge of a topic in other ways. But don’t use not being ready as an excuse to do nothing. If anyone ever waited until they were 100% ready to do something, well, nobody would ever do anything.

    Quit the Comparison Game: 3 of Pentacles (Reversed)

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    Oh, comparison, how I loathe thee.

    Frequently, you'll stop dead in your tracks because you're (knowingly or unknowingly) comparing yourself to others. Worse yet, you compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. This is particularly true in our social-media driven age, when everyone else’s highlight reel is bombarding you 24/7 with messages of greatness.

    Comparing yourself to others, especially when you're at the beginning of your journey, is toxic to your motivation and your ability to move forward. Often, the people you look up to are either in the middle or the further end of their own personal journey, so of course you're going to find yourself falling short. When that happens, you could decide that it’s just better if you don’t do anything… because what’s the point? Everyone else is already doing this amazing thing you want to do, and doing it better… right?

    Well, no.

    What you have to offer the world is your uniqueness (see that 10 of Wands, above, and the woman’s unique beauty). The way you do your thing will be different than the way everyone else does it. There will always be a place for your story, for your gifts, and for your skills. But you have to share them first.

    Action Step: Turn off the comparison triggers. When you find yourself getting triggered in this way and you realize that your motivation is flagging specifically because you've gone on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and you've seen someone who is doing what you want to do, but seemingly they're doing it 10 times better, turn off that notification. Delete Instagram from your phone. You don't need that kind of baggage in your head when you're trying to achieve something.The only way to focus on your own achievements to stop the comparison game, keep your eyes on your own paper, and take one step forward, and then another, and then another.  

    Common Themes

    The messages that came through in this spread were focused on the way you treat yourself, the way you talk to yourself, the way you compare yourself to other people, as well as the burdens you take on. 

    When you look at all those elements together, well, no wonder you're finding it so difficult to achieve your goals! Are you really surprised that you’re finding it so hard to stay motivated when you’re dealing with this stuff on a daily basis? Achieving your goals may feel like an upward climb sometimes, but it’s not an impossible mission. You just need to know how to handle the triggers when they arise—and they will, inevitably, time and time again.

    Take the action steps I’ve outlined above and add them to your personal development toolbox. Then pull them out when you need to find ways to push through the struggles you’re experiencing that are holding you back from pursuing your dreams.

    What are your best tips for staying motivated? Share them in the comments below!