The Second Edition Self-Love Oracle

Well, I can’t keep it to myself anymore.

The second edition of the Self-Love Oracle is now here.

It’s already made a guest appearance on the Tarot forecast video for July 17th-23rd, 2017:

What’s changed

  • The first-edition tin box (with its hand-pasted stickers) has been replaced by a 2-piece cardboard box.
  • The cards are of the same card stock, but finished with a gloss UV coating now instead of matte.
  • The cards have mirrored silver edges. These edges are so silver and so shiny, you can see yourself in them (though I wouldn’t rely on this to check my teeth)!

Price and Shipping

Being lighter now, the boxed sets should cost a bit less to ship, and yep, this second print run was larger than the first. So the price will be adjusted downward a little.

Purchasing was turned off for the short time that I was getting this sorted!

The “Buy Now” buttons have been updated on the product page.

So yep, if the online order mechanism went away for a while, it was a thing.

Thanks so much for your patience and for being the first buyers of the Self-Love Oracle Silver-Lining Edition!

Goddess Alchemy

Goddess Alchemy

This was a combination of commissioned and channeled painting; I had the concept to run with, and went with it! A4 size (8.3in by 11.7in). If you’re interested in your own, get in touch!

3 Things to Know while Finding your Purpose

Self-Nurturing and Journal Prompts for Cancer Season (June and July 2017)

Indulge me in some personal stock-taking as we approach the halfway point of 2017. (You may find it fun doing the same!)

In the last 6 months, I’ve

  • Presented at the first Festival du Feminin in Singapore as a guest speaker
  • Released the Self-Love Oracle app together with Indie Goes software
  • Started and completed the artwork for the Angel Power Tarot with Cico Books and author Jayne Wallace.

I’ve joked that the Self-Love Oracle deck took 15 years to complete, because the artwork for it came from the last decade and a half. My second deck took 3 months.

It’s been a time of discovering that I can produce one pretty decent painting per day, if I’m being paid for it. (The last bit is crucial–it frees me up from worrying how to pay the bills!) The road to becoming a paid artist was, for me, a long road fraught with constant messages that I should abandon such unproductive work. For years, it didn’t seem to matter how well I could do it–not perfectly, of course, but deserving to do what I enjoyed and was good at. But creative work is also a very treacherous terrain to work with when many in society (especially the one I grew up in) have never really considered what value beauty and creativity holds for them.

So you wonder what you were put on earth for. I can’t answer in one blog post, but here are 3 things to know while you’re trying to figure out your purpose.

And if your purpose in any way lies in challenging the status quo (and we live in challenging times!), this first thing will be extra important.

1. Know your highest values

The values you hold as your own highest personal values need not agree with those of society.

(If a society holds control, dominance, and economic survival as its highest values, those within them who already hold higher values such as compassion, inclusion and diversity NEED NOT and SHOULD NOT lower themselves.)

I know this is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but it also describes values pretty well. Don’t restrict yourself to these, though!

Let me share my highest values: Truth, beauty, and love.

Truth because the endless nights I spent in my childhood, teenagerhood, and adulthood reading books beyond my years and my paper qualifications. I read both fiction and non-fiction, taboo and “difficult” books. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn.

Beauty because everything I loved and appreciated made me want to pick up pencil and draw or write. It was my way of keeping order, of making sense of the storms and universes knocking from inside and wanting to come out. If the world outside was ugly, I could create my own with the colours, lines, shapes, and stories. Being amidst beauty and creating beautiful books was on my brain all the time.

Love because I needed this to allow myself to do these things. To be myself to bring beauty through. To raise a daughter who would feel it was safe to be herself.

You’re going to have your own highest values. You’ll know them when you realise your whole life revolved around them no matter what else was going on. They brought your highest highs and deepest sorrows, but they are what make you keep going.

So know your values. Put them somewhere important to you. Shout it out on social media.

Part of your purpose will lie in serving and sharing these values.

2. Know you are worthy

For a long time in my life, one thought that had permanent residence in my head was: “Who am I to want this and deserve it?” There were so many artists and authors better than me, better qualified than me, and with more encouragement and persistence than I had. There were also artists and authors whom I thought were not-so-great but who were published nonetheless, and they IRRITATED ME TO DEATH.

Sure, there’s luck involved (and I was hung up on this a long time), but there’s also persistence, trying, and finding one’s market. Another personal block I ran into was my deeply ingrained fear of rejection. I had learned to personalise ALL rejection because I had grown up with my own parents discouraging my artistic leanings, AND asking me “Who do you think you are?” whenever I gave them lip. Untangling and understanding the resulting self-hate and self-sabotage in me took years.

FWIW, I still produced some nice paintings during those emo years.

The answer is loving and nurturing oneself and one’s inner child. For some of us, this may require a kickstart from someone outside ourselves–say, someone appreciating and encouraging our artistic gifts.

3. You Are Worthy

Card #3 from the Self-Love Oracle, featuring my 2001 painting “The Gift”.

I realised that my parents were “wrong” about me when, for one birthday, my then-boyfriend’s parents gave me paper and coloured pencils, and even apologised if they were an inferior brand or not what I used. Before this, I had never received such things from my own parents for my birthdays. It took all my self-control not to break down at the time, because it was a sad-happy realisation during cake: that there are parents who encourage their children’s less-common talents. (In retrospect, I think this ex-bf and his family have given me more than I can quantity or understand while I’m still on this side of the veil. It is perhaps fitting that my painting “The Gift”, was in fact gifted to this ex.)

As children, we have little control over what kind of parenting we were subject to. But as adults, most of us are in positions to try and understand, and undo, some of the damage to our self-worth and self-esteem. This is not just for ourselves, but for those people around us.

One common unconscious result of being damaged is believing that other people also need to be damaged, and damaged worse, in order for one to get ahead.

Getting away from this mindset is a huge part of healing. It’s a shift away from spreading misery to recognising the need in everyone to be nurtured and to feel worthy.

Pexels photo of night road and galaxies

3. Know that all of the journey is important

When you’ve learned to love yourself, you’ll learn to love everything that made you who you are.

(There’s a quote like this out there. I should look it up, but I need to add this next bit too:)

Loving yourself, you’ll also love who you’ll be next, and everything that takes you there.

It’s part of self-healing, and part of your evolution and expansion.

When you believe in something, whether it’s Love, or God, the path of becoming whole includes expanding and being more of Love, and more of God. It is death of the ego and of separation.

It is the journey home.


Journaling prompts (presented with no obligation to do anything with them)

  • Write your values and how you figured these out (Clues will be in what you love doing.)
  • The dream you want to live even if you don’t know how it can happen
  • How you can best help others, the “best” thing that only you can and want to offer that is unique to you and your experiences. (No worrying about what you can earn from this when you’re writing it down!)
  • What “mundane” everyday skills you DO have under your belt that are assets you’ve taken for granted.
  • Extra bonus points if you wanna figure out how to marry the two last answers together: How the skills you already have can be married to the best thing you can offer, if there are differences between them.
  • Most practical bit: How you’re going to allow yourself regular space and time to develop this offering into something others can see the worth of. (Another hint: Others are not going to see its worth if you can’t, and you can only see it if you KNOW you are inherently worthy of your dream.)
  • Write to Janet and tell her how confusing these exercises were

(Kidding on the last bit. Also checking if you’re still reading.)

If you’re interested in more prompts, inspiration, and insight on becoming a creative, lightworker, or both, sign up for my mailing list!

The Responsibilities around Tarot and Oracle Readings

There are common points in time during which people may look for a psychic reading or a card reading. It’s usually one of two possibilities: They are going through a period of difficulty, or there is no terrible difficulty, but they are ready (overdue!) for a change. The card reader in these moments serves a role that most of the querant’s friends and relatives cannot fill: to provide a very different and possibly more objective view of querant’s dilemma.

The potential vulnerability of some querants means the reader needs to be even more careful around their reading. This goes beyonds trying to make sense of the querant’s cards or energy (same thing in my readings); it is to be truthful about the potential pitfalls and opportunities that come up; making sure the querant understands that nothing can be 100% correct and predictive–by no means should a querant ever think anything is outside of their control, or that they are a victim of circumstance.

There is always a “best option/result”  that can be reached for in any dilemma. (I usually have one card that sits at the top of a spread as the highest good or highest potential of the situation.) It usually requires a transformation, realisation, or an evolution on the querant’s part. All challenges are, after all, opportunities to take responsibility and to grow.

Again because of the potential vulnerability of querants: any suggestion and advice given in a reading should be delivered with the caveat that it is the querant who needs to take final responsibility for their own decisions. The reader supplies information only.

The accuracy of the information is for the querant to judge, which is why a good reading includes describing the current circumstances with as much detail and nuance as the reader can supply for the querant to confirm. I call this the “parlour trick” portion of a reading because the cards can get pretty bang on, working on the principle that the universe is holographic and everything is connected. This part is also still consensus reality. Potentials are harder to understand and pin down.

My personal experience and training also tries to “up” the accuracy of card readings by preparing for readings–and the space used for readings–with shamanic techniques to connect with God/Spirit/Source and spirit guides beforehand.

Every reader is different. My style evolved with every new thing I learned. What I use now allows me to read with the feeling of safety and trust in myself. This trust and the strong feeling of connection also allows me to vary my reading methods and spreads, depending on what feels right for each query. Often the results can surprise even myself and provide quite a show for the querant (colourful, viewer-friendly cards help). This is why working with the intuition–as opposed to rote memorisation or fixed methods–is exciting, and watching other readers expands one’s repertoire.

Boundaries

I’ve got two ways of approaching boundaries in readings. One, strangely, comes from my Journalism background:

Don’t make up information that isn’t there.

It’s taken my meditation experience to know the difference between thinking and receiving intuitive information. Thinking takes effort; receiving is effortless. My mental focus is usually on maintaining awareness of my own state of mind, how the information is flowing, and if there is a way I need to deliver it responsibly and kindly–the only thinking I will entertain during a reading!

The other thing I watch is that:

I don’t impose my interpretation of the situation as THE reality.

It is presented as a possibility for the querant feel out: if the new information of the motivations of the various players sounds plausible.

This is a psychological boundary, leaving space for the querant to interpret and judge the information as useful or not. Again, in a strange way, my previous experience with narcissisic abuse have made me very aware about psychological boundaries, so I keep my readings clear of gaslighting, judgments, and any invalidation of the querant’s experience.

“Difficult” readings

There can be people who are hard to read for. Four years ago, in my first-ever angel oracle workshop that I attended, participants had to read for one another and I practiced with a woman who did not say over 5 words to me. She kept her head and her gaze down, never meeting my eyes, and in retrospect, was closed and self-protective with her energy. As reading experiences go, this then makes it hard to know if the reading is hitting the mark (not that a reader should ever massage the card meanings just to make querants happy) and on a serious note, makes me worry if the querant is even in a strong-enough place to hear and find benefit from the reading.

Years later at a spiritual event, I would run into another woman who, upon finding out that I read cards, said that she went to readers often but that none of them ever got anything right.

I didn’t offer, because I knew it was a futile exercise. Even statistically it was unlikely to be as she said; it was a lot more probable that she was not facing something; and I had no desire whatsoever to prove that I was better (or not) than the other readers she had gone to. Readings done for the ego (of the reader or the querant) just aren’t worth it.

“Best” readings

I’ve purchased readings myself, in addition to giving readings to others in the spirit of fun, or at worst, to confirm if I’m on the right track during a challenging time. Almost all of these have been wonderful, though this may also just be a universal rule when boundaries are respected, when I am clear on my own responsibilities and do not place crazy expectations on the reading to say only what I want.

“Worst” reading ever experienced

This was a strange one that I received for free, from someone who later showed themselves to have tendencies towards emotional abuse. (We had a friendly working relationship at the time of the reading.)

It’s not unusual for card readings that start with the querant shuffling the deck.

It is more unusual (but still within the norm) to also instruct the querant to draw their own cards within a reading.

It is NOT normal to keep telling them they’ve picked the wrong card. And that they’ve got to keep going till they’ve drawn the “right” one. And to have this happen multiple times during the drawn-out reading.

It’s needless because the reader can more easily do that, instead of forcing the querant off-balance with the exercise and giving them feelings of inadequacy. (Not to mention no querant should be expected to read their own cards if they’re paying someone else to do that!) Of course it would turn out later that this person liked reading like this, possibly part of their business strategy to push their healing/curse-removal services right after the negating and fear-peddling. And though I would usually hesitate judging other readers harshly, I would classify this style of reading and operating as crossing a line.

Last Word

I have found it good to centre and ground my querants right before and right after all readings that I do in person. In a shop full of singing bowls (in which I work every Sunday) this is fun and enjoyable; and ensures I’m reading for a person who is energetically “self-contained” and strong, rather than off balance. This strengthening can also be done with essential oils. The energies I want to work with, even in reading a querant’s, I want to be their “best”, and not their lowest, fear-driven or desperate thoughts and beliefs. The best answers for them will come from their guides and Higher Self, and I feel my role is not only to connect them with the higher guidance from their spiritual team, but to strengthen querants over the course of their reading.

Even at the same time I think I’m just a overglorified confidante sometimes. But you know what? That’s a fun role too.

Identity, purpose and destiny in Moana

moana disney wallpaper

I watched this in the theatre with my 7-year-old when it was released. I never said this before: I cried, and HARD when I saw this. Disney is known for their white-centric princess movies, and while their representation of diversity has been slowly improving, Moana was done so well and had such strong themes of identity, acceptance and self-actualisation that I think it’s the most powerful film that Disney has put out to date.

If you haven’t watched it, I’ll try not to spoil it, but the talent behind the movie is stupendous. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics took Disney music to a new high. The villain’s song—you always need a villain song—is so well lyric’d and cast that I was writhing in my seat in hedonistic delight, AND nearly died when I confirmed the voice during credits (Jermaine Clement, from Flight of the Conchords, and my crush).

moana tamatoa

Jermaine’s voice really shone in this one.

I can describe a bit of why this movie hit me hard: I struggled in my child- and teenager-hood to have my interests (art/architecture) accepted and supported as my career path (I wound up not pursuing either as a degree in college, much as they had been my top choices). So watching the dynamics between Moana and her parents hit close to home, even if I hadn’t had anyone like her mother/grandmother in my own life. And that lack has been painful (I blogged here about it) something I don’t want to let my own daughter experience. And for the hour and half that Moana was, I could almost imagine what it was like to have a strong female relative to turn to for support instead of judgment and disapproval. (This was my escapism.)

moana-gramma-tala

“I am the village crazy lady,” she says. Crazy, like a fox.

Much of the film has been made about the surprise twist near the end of the movie. But the pivotal point of the film for me was not the “twist” at the end—it was the point Moana conversed with her grandmother. Tala (the grandmother) showed full and unconditional acceptance of her granddaughter’s decision to relinquish the quest that had been so close to her heart. This acknowledgment of a painful wound was priceless. The acknowledgment then lead to Moana diving into the water to retrieve what she had discarded. The wound became part of the path.

moana and the sea

After so much of the movie had been Moana reveling in that the sea had chosen her, it was more important for the fulfillment of Moana’s destiny that she also chose it, right on the heels of failure and with her heart broken open. Much of the film was about female empowerment, not only in taking action, but in accepting the feelings and convictions of other female characters, as at the point Sina (Moana’s mother) helps Moana to defy her father.

The final twist in the story (which I won’t reveal) has the feel of the Sacred Feminine restored and re-given respect, after it was destroyed by masculine pride and ego. Tui, Moana’s father, also plays the stand-in for male authority, enforcing rules and traditions, trying to keep the status quo through force/threat.

But the movie also demonstrates that “the way things are” often falls apart as justification for fear or suppression when you go back far enough in history.

The Force is strong in this one

There are other beautiful messages sprinkled throughout the movie that make it spiritually relevant to me. Those who know me know that I acknowledge a vast difference between religion and spirituality. The latter, to me, is a deep knowing of something bigger than physical reality but that it works without fear or demands for compliance, or submission to external control. It is to walk with a faith that God energy, or Spirit, lives and moves in every thing and every person. 

Part of the exquisite experience of being human is that we can be driven by any combination of things: personal desire, ego, our values, and the inexplicable, whether you want to call it God, Spirit, or destiny. True self-responsibility and self-empowerment is learning discernment between personal will, petty ego and fear, and the ineffable.

moana and the sea

Moana’s wisdom was that she heeded the call of the sea

Wisdom does not discriminate by age. Some children come in with an innate knowing more of their own path than the “elders” (by appearance) around them. Not everyone who is old is wise, and not everyone who is young is foolish. (This directly contradicts Confucianism, which again, anyone who knows me, knows I hate with a passion.)

If we want to believe that children are more newly arrived  from God, then why do we listen so little to them, believing that we adults need to suppress their natural instincts to play, to question, and pursue what they want? We can teach them without suppression, at the same time they help to teach us by challenging our false beliefs, attachments and conditioning.

Moana is a teenager wholly in tune with herself and carries less fear than the adults and the near-immortal demigods around her. The contrast is stark. Moana father’s urge to protect her from the sea is motivated by fear, a fear that she instinctually rejects (but also learns to respect after her own experiences–she just never lets her fear stop her).

Now, how many parents impose their own expectations and fears upon their children? Living in a authoritarian society where there are plenty of tiger mums, religious parents (especially those suppressing LBGT acceptance and LBGT topics in the public arena) and Confucianist (read: thin-skinned) educators and policy-makers, I do wonder.

Identity and Purpose

“Do you know who you are?” Moana is asked. She answers by way of the things she loves. (Again, this was the part I was weeping–spoiler at the link.) Again, if we claim to value love and compassion in society, why is finding/allowing the natural likes and interests of children so anathema to some parents and educators? And could it be that so many adults struggle mid-life with their identity and purpose because they were thwarted, in full or in part, by their childhood experiences? (But the movie provides the answer too. I’ll come back to this.)

She also answers with her lineage. Moana sees the best part of her inheritance, even if the skills that were once in her family were lost. At this point in the movie, she has regained them.

She answers with what she has accomplished. You are what you do and have done. You are that all you have learned. You are all that you have chosen.

She answers with the call she hears. She recognises what she is driven to do, and that it was inside and ineffable, and it was there all along. It persists regardless of the fears, disapproval, and trepidation of the adults around her. Really, Enlightenment is the process of stripping away all that is false. (Even this happens literally in the movie–spoiler at this link.)

When Moana has (1) answered “who am I?”, (2) declared I AM, and (3) chosen, her purpose and path become clear.

The Wound is the Path

No experience is ever a waste, no matter how difficult it may have been, how long it took, or how much it hurt. In the compressed storytelling art form that is a movie, Moana never gets derailed for long, and it is in defeat that her purpose becomes even stronger and clearer.

For those who struggle with their purpose or wonder what their destiny is, I’m tempted to say from my own experience that it is what you keep doing or want to keep doing no matter what challenges have been thrown your way. Whatever wounds that have been suffered in the pursuit, learning to heal them and keep going becomes part of your path, perhaps the one you were meant to walk all along.

You are what you do and have done. You are that all you have learned. You are all that you have chosen.

Those individuals who have big-picture visions should not be swayed from them, just as those who have smaller, different, or uncertain ones can be left to seek their own clarity or just to live life as they choose without hurting others.

moana spiral

On another level, all paths may be spirals. We learn to return to, and create from center.

The best thing we can teach our kids is how to tune into their inner knowing and connection with the ineffable, to have faith in themselves, and that mistakes can always be fixed and learned from. That we cannot protect them from every danger or hurt, but the capacity to heal and share healing will always be there inside them.

 

It is never said out loud, but Moana, among many things, is a healer who manages to heal herself, her ancestral gifts, and her environment.

This path can be anyone’s, if they choose it.