Excuse Me While I Step Out For a Moment

A work that I regrettably can't find the name of, by one of my favourite painters, Pegge Hopper. 

Just a quick note today to let you know that Two Sides Tarot will be away from the reading table from Friday 6th of November until Sunday 15th November. One of my dearest friends is getting hitched up on the North Coast, and I'm taking a week out to celebrate with her, lounge on the beach, and catch up with some of my northern-dwelling pals.

Ordinarily, I do some tarot work when on the road, but this time, I felt like I could use a proper break. I won't be doing any client readings or the daily Weather Report while I'm away. I have left the shop open though, so if it takes your fancy, you can book a reading during this time. Please be aware though that I will be fulfilling your order after I return on Monday 16th of November, so my usual lead time of 5 days does not apply. Even mystics need a little time to chill on the beach, right?! 

In my absence, here's some stuff to keep you busy - 

A great interview with the always-otherworldly Joanna Newsom. This woman is a visionary! If you haven't listened to her new album, Divers, yet, do yourself a favour and get on it.

Some of you may know that I'm obsessed with listening to other people's creepy stories. The Jezebel annual scary stories contest is always a goldmine, but this year's best find has been this reddit thread, in which a US Forest Service Search and Rescue officer describes some of the eerie and inexplicable things they have seen while deep in the woods. Random staircases, anyone?! Warning - it is both disturbing and addictive!

Do you follow my friend Janine's blog? She posts a thoughtful, personal essay every Friday, which always strikes a chord with me. Her beautiful works are on a whole range of topics, but at heart, her writing is always about what it means to try to live well in the modern world. She's writing about creativity at the moment because she's undertaking Nanowrimo for the I-don't-know-how-many-eth year in a row. Wish her luck!

Have you seen the recently released Earthbound Oracle deck? After a post-related delay, my copy finally arrived and golly gee, this deck is The Business! I'll write a proper deck interview when I return, but suffice it to say, this thing is really special. Andy Swartz is an incredible artist with a deep understanding of cartomancy practice, both tarot and otherwise. Please do consider supporting his work and picking up a copy of the Earthbound Oracle or the Wooden Tarot. Thank me later!

Have a good week! I hope you're up to something fun. If you feel like sharing, let me know what you're up to in the comments, and I'll read it all with great interest when I return!

Ask the Agony Augury: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The Agony Augury is a regular column here in Two Sides Tarot Land. Think a trusted agony aunt, armed with tarot cards, the Agony Augury is here to take on your most pressing problems and difficult dilemmas! Got a question? Drop me a line, and your quandary might just get answered right here on the blog.

Today's Agony Augury reading comes to you from beautiful Sedona, AZ. It's hard for me to believe that this landscape is even real! I'm currently sitting on the floor of my hotel room, staring out the balcony door at a vast, red cliff, silhouetted against a cloudy sky. Looks like we might get some rain today! My time in the city on this trip was busy, busy, busy, but in the presence of these natural marvels, it feels right to sit down quietly and shuffle the cards once again. I hope this beautiful and energetically charged landscape gives this reading a little extra magic! 

Today's question is a tarot classic! Our seeker is caught between two options, which is hard enough when both options are appealing, but really tough when neither of the roads available seem to offer anything good. Let's get to the question, and see what can be done with this tricky situation.

Dear Agony Augury,

Should I move away or should I stay in this town? The trouble is nothing good has happened since I moved here yet I cant form a vision to move towards either to make me want to relocate. So I feel stuck and trapped. Neither way pulls me. What can you see for me?


Miserable! I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling trapped in this no-good situation. When it came to reading on this question for you, I knew there were two sides to the situation that we needed to take into account. Firstly, the nature of the options at hand - that's a no brainer, and a feature of all decision making tarot spreads. More importantly though, in my opinion, is some investigation into what lurks beneath the decision - what are your hopes, needs, and desires for yourself? I often find that when we're stuck in a depressing situation, our connection to our needs and wants is the first thing to become clouded, which causes the situation to perpetuate itself because it's so hard for us to navigate our way through it. I hope this reading helps you to renew that connection to your inner compass, which in turn will help to guide you onto a more fulfilling path. Shall we get to it?

For your reading, I used the Spirit Speak Tarot. Please forgive the zany hotel carpet in the background!

My first impression after drawing these cards is of things hidden and obscured, of fires burning beneath the surface. If we hoped the solution to your dilemma would be found in the outside world, in a move and a new scene, I think we're going to be disappointed! At a glance, I think getting to the bottom of this situation will require a little work right where you are. I don't know if you find that heartening, but I do think it is an emboldening idea that you can make the best of things, no matter where you are!

1. What do you need to know at this time about staying put where you are? Ace of Wands

I must say, this was a card I did not expect to see here! The smouldering fire of the Ace of Wands is quite a contrast to the bland and suffocating feeling of being stuck in a place where nothing good has happened. It's not entirely unrelated, though. Given that this card is an Ace, I think there is a sense of waiting for things to get started - perhaps you felt that when you moved to this town, your life would really get started, and now that you're here you don't feel all that different. Aces are just the first step, after all, and perhaps some of your disappointment stems from the fact that you hoped you'd feel further down the road by now? Perhaps there's a feeling, too, of being exhausted by starting over in a new place. Making a good life for yourself does take work, and at times, especially when you feel like decisions don't pay off, that can be very tiresome.

As an antidote to the feelings of frustration and weariness that are reflected in this card, I think the Ace of Wands wants you to know that you're in charge of this situation. Key to the suit of Wands is the idea of personal agency, of action and drive and passion, and the message here is that in staying put, you will have to summon these fiery Wands qualities. It is a new beginning for you, and there are bound to be some teething issues, but this feeling of nothing good happening is not the end of the road, oh no! This is just the beginning of your journey in this place, and it is up to you where you take it from here. It's understandable that you're not feeling too fiery and bold since things aren't going well, but you're at a crossroads right now. You have a choice before you - do you throw in the towel, or do you power yourself up and make something of this situation? There is potential here. In order to make the best of this situation, to really start something here and get it flourishing, you will need to summon your fire. Can you do that?

2. What do you need to know at this time about moving away? Eight of Swords

Here's where the idea of things hidden and obscured comes in. The Eight of Swords is all about being unable to see things clearly, a mistaken belief that there's no way forward and no way out. There's also the suggestion of a fixation on circumstances, a preoccupation with how you are being limited by external forces. In this position, I think this card is - if you'll forgive the pun - a bit of a double edged sword. On the one hand, the message is, you're not really stuck here. You can move if you want to. That rose may be caged by swords, but with a little persistence and poise, she can keep growing up and blossom above the blades that seem to be holding her in. 

On the other hand, I think this card suggests that the idea of escape is unhelpfully preoccupying you. It's easy to point the finger at the town you're living in and say that if only you could go somewhere else, things would be different. This way of thinking about the place you live as a trap is making it hard for you to see what's really going on. Your ambivalence about moving suggests that you're aware of this to some degree, but I think it's very important that you aren't seduced by the idea that you just need to find the right place to live before you can flourish. Look at this rose - she might be penned in by swords, but she's still blooming. Her external circumstances can't diminish her inner capacity for growth. In a nutshell, the Eight of Swords says that the place where you find yourself is not the most important factor in your happiness. You can move if you want to, but the bigger challenge is to find the courage to blossom wherever you are. 

3. What is your biggest need - be it emotional, physical, intellectual, or spiritual - that is not being met at this time? Two of Cups

Ahh. Herein lies the key - or at least, part of the key - to your troubles. The Two of Cups speaks of the needs of the heart, for connection, love, companionship. To put it simply, I suspect that loneliness and isolation are big factors in your unhappiness where you are. Perhaps a break up was a factor in your move and the wounds are still a little raw, or maybe you've just had a hard time making friends where you are. Maybe being away from family is getting you down. Whether we're talking a lack of romantic, platonic, or familial love (or a combination), it seems that your biggest need right now is to find meaningful connection with other people.

I think the message of this card relates back to the Eight of Swords. You might be finding it easier to tell yourself "This town sucks, I want to move!" than to admit that you're feeling lonely and heartsore. Those feelings are hard to accept, I know, and for many of us it is easier to push them away than to meet them face to face. It's important, though, if you are to get to the bottom of what you want, that you're honest with yourself. Whether you stay or go, reaching out and asking for love and companionship must be part of your journey, because one simply can't live without it! 

4. What is your biggest desire or hope for yourself that isn't being realised at this time? Seven of Swords

Once again, something is being hidden! Perhaps you don't even know what it is! The Seven of Swords is all about the stuff that goes on under cover of darkness, the secrets we keep and the things we get away with. Sometimes this card is about doing something shady or secret, but sometimes it's related to the workings of the subconscious. You'll notice on this card that the figure has her back to us, the face is obscured, which I think suggests that your hopes and desires are bubbling away beneath the surface, obscure even to you! You've said in your letter that you can't form a vision of what to do, and I think this card reflects that. It's hard to see the road ahead when we are turned in the other direction! 

I suspect, though, that at heart, you are holding onto a secret desire. Your dissatisfaction with your living situation might be distracting you from it, or maybe it is more a fear of declaring your intentions that is keeping this desire under wraps. Feelings of shame or unworthiness, or imposter syndrome can also go hand in hand with the Seven of Swords, so it may be that you feel like you have no right to realise this secret hope, and if you go public with it you'll be found out.  Given that our first card is the Ace of Wands, I suspect that this burning, hidden desire is related to a creative project - is there some art that you are secretly desperate to make, an avenue of self expression you want but are afraid to explore? Maybe you're dreaming of starting your dream business, but it all seems too hard and scary? Whatever it is, I think now is the time to start drawing it to the surface. Bringing the Seven of Swords out into the light is going to be a great first step on the road of the Ace of Wands. If you do decide to stay put where you are and make the most of this situation, your hidden desires will have to be spoken aloud!

5. What approach, action, or mindset can you adopt in order to start feeding these needs and desires? Three of Pentacles

It's up to you to decide whether you stay or move on, but I think the bigger issues at play here will still need to be addressed, wherever you find yourself. The Three of Pentacles says that all of this inner turmoil, these unmet needs and secret desires, will be best explored by getting your hands dirty. This probably has something to do with that secret project that tied together the Ace of Wands and the Seven of Swords. This card suggests it's time to take up your tools, whatever they may be, and start putting them to use. Whether this means you apply for your dream job, start writing that poetry, set up your small business, apply for that course, go on some dates, join that life drawing class... Whatever form it takes, the Three of Pentacles says that small, tangible steps towards your goal are the key to overcoming your creative and emotional misery right now, Miserable! 

If you're feeling a bit of that Seven of Swords fear or unworthiness, it's important to remember that this card is just the Three - you aren't expected to be an expert on your chosen path right now. You don't have to be an overnight success, or have a professional qualification in order to get started on this path. These are all mental obstacles and excuses we use to discourage ourselves from getting started, and that isn't helpful right now. If you have the willingness to begin, then you have everything you need to get moving, to start fanning that fiery Ace of Wands and shaping your life from miserable into fulfilling. You can deliberate on whether to move or not, but save some energy for addressing your emotional and creative needs, because chances are, you'll be able to find a way to meet them, no matter where you live. You can start where you are, but just make sure you start!

Miserable, I really hope this reading gives you some food for thought about your situation. I can't tell you whether to stay or go, but I hope I've at least been able to nudge you back in the direction of your own inner compass! May it steer you towards greater fulfilment and happiness!

Much love,

The Agony Augury

Got a tricky problem or juicy dilemma for The Agony Augury? Send it my way! Oh and remember, you can summon The Agony Augury into your inbox by subscribing here.

Hello from the Road

Despite my best laid plans, it has been a while! If you've been following me on Instagram, you might have noticed that Two Sides Tarot is in transit at the moment. I'm on holiday, a two week trip spent mostly on the left coast of the US. When I planned this trip, I knew I wanted to spend a good amount of time in my favourite American city, San Francisco, and I wanted to be excited and curious and filled up by spending two weeks left to my own devices in a foreign land. So far, so good! I'd also expected to spend a lot more time while traveling writing, doing tarot, and reading, but that hasn't proven to be the case so far. Hence, the radio silence around these parts! The daily Weather continues apace, but my plans for blogging and other creative work while on the road have not come to fruition. 

I must admit, I'm an advocate of going with the flow, so I'm not too bothered by the fact that the mood of my holiday hasn't been as expected (although I do feel a little guilty for leaving this blog to lie fallow for too many days). In fact, I've been enjoying activating my lower chakras, just relishing being a body in the world, walking for miles and eating and looking at things and not paying too much attention to the spiritual implications of every sight or interaction. Perhaps that's spiritual in itself - just being in the moment. Living!

One altar I have prostrated myself upon while in SF is that of the almighty god of baseball - and as a Giants fan, I know that you only have to look at the 2014 season and World Series win to know this baseball god is a trickster! Just my kind of fellow. He's getting greedy though, because it seems our offerings of fandom in 2015 have been insufficient to secure a place in the postseason. Oh well, you can't win them all, and this fan is just happy to be here! 

I've done my run with the Giants though, and this weekend I'm heading out to Sedona for a few nights away from the city. Looking forward to diving into that beautiful red desert! And also, to taking it a little slower. More reading time, perhaps even a sleep in. Maybe even a blog post! Let's try to go with the flow though. I know better now than to lean too heavily on plans, and hey, Mercury's retrograde. Anything could happen! I will say, regular scheduled programming will resume soon. 

I hope you're keeping well. What have you been up to these past couple of weeks? Send me a virtual postcard in the comments!