Archive for 'tarot'

Reshuffling my deck
by Jessa Slade on December 28th, 2009

Currently working on: Digging out from under the holidays
Mood: Eager for daylight

I have a friend who’s experienced more than her fair share of life’s hard knocks.   (I’m not sure how much a fair share would be, exactly, but I’m pretty sure she got hosed.)  One of her favorite sayings is “The universe gives you the chance to make the same mistake over and over.  Until you don’t.”

Mean universe.

Oh, I could look at it as tough love, I suppose, one of those “learning moments.”  But sometimes it’s hard to tell what the lesson is.  So at the end of every year, I like to look back, give the universe a long, hard stare, and try to figure out what it was thinking (and what it was trying to make me think about) while it stares back at me.

Because I dabble in the Tarot, I like to use my cards to give some narrative to the year that has passed.  I have a deck based on Greek mythology, because those were some of my favorite stories when I was a kid.  I draw a three-card spread, which is often used in understanding influences at play before taking any particular path, which seems to me useful in looking back at paths chosen.

So what exactly was the universe trying to teach me?  Did I get it?  Can I move on from this lesson to the next?

I pulled Temperance, The Chariot and the Knight of Swords:


Temperance (Iris, goddess of the rainbow): Iris was a kind and merciful goddess who represents the fluid adjustment of feeling and emotion with the ultimate goal of harmony. She was also a message bearer of the gods.

The Chariot (Ares, god of war): With his two horses pulling in opposite directions, Ares represents aggressive instincts guided by the will of consciousness, and suggests conflict and struggle can result in a stronger personality when faced with strength and containment.

Knight of Swords (the Warrior Twins, Castor and Polydeuces, one mortal and one divine): An augury of sudden change and mercurial energy which breaks apart the ordinary patterns of life, often with callous disregard for common sense or kindness.

Oh, I love it when my cards tell me what I already know.  It was a crazy year for me.  (Duh.)  I saw my dream of publication come true when I finally got to hold a printed copy of SEDUCED BY SHADOWS.  At the same time, I suffered through the flailing death throes of my day job.  (Luckily I’m good at imagining the living dead, so I’ve managed to keep my job lumbering along — minus some body parts — in a gruesome caricature of employment.)  I’ve stretched my personal boundaries from painfully introverted bookworm to painfully social bookworm-becoming-butterfly.  I started — and failed at — a weight-lifting regimen.  (Yeah, yeah, I actually started it again tonight; stupid New Years resolutions.) 

Clearly, it’s been a year of more uproar than balance, which is obvious if you weigh the three warrior boys and their three wild horses against the pretty Iris.  Still, I think I did a reasonable job of adjusting on the fly and keeping my feet under me.  So I’ll keep the reminder of steady Iris going forward (kindness, mercy, balance) since I bet when I pull my full Celtic Cross spread for the new year, I think I’ll be seeing more of those conflict cards.

Besides, in the pitcher she carried, Iris also held the waters that filled storm clouds.  She could dump a bucket of cold water on those hot-headed boys at any time — if she decided to stop playing nice.  That’s a good reminder too.

How about you?  Did you come away with a lesson from 2009 you’d like to share?  If you want a three-card draw from my Greek mythology deck, just ask and we’ll see what the cards have to say to you.

Playing the professional writer
by Jessa Slade on May 11th, 2009

Currently working on: More freakin’ revisions!!!
Mood: Dangerous

This week’s topic here at Silk And Shadows is ”Working with editors and agents.” I’m technically a professional writer now and should be qualified to discuss that topic, but even typing the headline makes me laugh. And it’s a nervous laugh.

Because I still don’t feel very professional, and I dread the day my editor and agent realize I’m a fake.  (The even more terrifying truth, of course, is that they already know; but we’re all politely withholding that news from me for the time being.)

I have a journalism background and worked on newspapers for years, so I thought I’d be relatively prepared for the business side of writing.  After all, reporters have to churn out daily copy, consider column inches a necessary evil, become working experts in many fields, meet deadlines and dropdeadlines and deadasadoornaillines — all vital skills for a professional writer.

But I also worked as a telephone psychic for a little while, and I think what I learned there is more applicable to being a professional writer than being a professional writer was.

What I learned as a telephone psychic that might help anyone trying to fake it until they make it:

tarot51. Being a waitress is important too.

I never was actually a waitress, but working as a telephone psychic made me think I should’ve tried being a waitress.  Real waitresses, of course, are snickering at me right now, because they know anybody who sits at a phone all day, taking one call at a time, could never manage a six-top, three two-tops, a grease fire, and the kitchen manager’s mental breakdown, all before 9:30 am. 

Being a psychic dreaming of being a waitress taught me that being a writer dreaming of being a… well, a bestselling writer is kind of pointless.  You do the thing you are doing, and you find the beauty, the art, the Zen of what you are doing.  Out of that comes a certain grace that will carry you through the rough patches.

Also, be polite and positive to everyone if you want a tip.  And get them their fries while they’re still hot.

2. Believe in yourself. (Or at least let others believe in  you.)

I have no idea why I decided to apply to be a telephone psychic.  I’d read Tarot cards for myself and a few close friends, but that hardly seemed like a career path.  (Hmm, kinda like writing stories for myself, yes?)  But I went to an informational meeting, and the psychic in charge picked out me and a man who totally looked the part (slender, bald, intense pale eyes) as having excellent potential.

Woohoo, she thought I had potential!  (Hmm, kinda like that high school English teacher who liked my stories, yes?)  So I bought a scented candle, shuffled my deck, and started taking calls even though I’d never seen a dead person or found a lost dog.  But I pick up a  lot of strays, which counts, I think. 

If the clothes make the man, then the scented candle makes the psychic, maybe.  Or at least that’s the way it worked for me.

3. Of course you’re a fake. So what?

I mean, how many people are truly psychic?  And how many are playing one on TV?  Whenever I took calls, I always explained that I believe the power to fully understand the energy at work in your destiny (much less change it) didn’t lie with me, or with my Tarot cards for that matter. Only the caller had that ability. Which, honestly, didn’t make me much of a psychic. More a conduit.

And that’s what I’m doing now, as a storyteller. I get the words down, so that technically makes me the writer, but the story…  Sometimes the best I can hope for is to take what’s given to me, say please and thank you, and scribble faster.

Have you ever had to “walk the walk” when your knees were shaking?  How’d you pull it off?  Did you have a (ahem) friend with a fake ID?  How did she play the part?  Inquiring good girls want to know.