On Book Writing, Tarot Reading, and the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Ten years ago, I gave birth to a daughter. Now, on another gold-blue October day a decade later, I am in the midst of another long labor. This time, I am birthing a book. 

The book isn’t here yet - the release date for The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love, and Magic is set for February, 2020 - but today is the day I must say, “It’s done.” I’m going over the proofreader’s changes and, in just a few hours, I will declare an end to years of writing, rewriting, editing, and polishing. No more additions or subtractions. These two hundred pages of prose must tell the entire story. (Until the next book!)

I feel both empty and full. All emptied by exhaustion and filled by hope. Such a combination of love and depletion has a way of making you feel so heavy and so flimsy at the same time - especially when you realize you have so much more to give.

There is still much to do (both as a mom and writer!), but now that the latest big project is complete, I am left to wonder: where my mind is meant to wander?

This is my moment to breathe before I dive into the book promotion and marketing, which will be its own tremendous emotional and creative undertaking. This is also my moment to contemplate motherhood before I need to prep the gifts, the cupcakes, and the candles.

And so, I give myself permission to do exactly what I invite my Sovereign Writers to do when I see myself at a creative and emotional crossroads.

I sit down to write.

The Writing Coach Gets Writer’s Block, Too

But where do I begin now that the project that has occupied my attention for so long is finally finished? What requires or deserves my attention?

Should I try to recapture the emotions of the day I birthed my first growing girl? Is it important to review the decade that stretches back to that stunning moment of her arrival? Should I fill a page with tales of my daughter’s power and potential, weaving prayers that her courage will blaze more brightly than her fear and that her sense of Sovereignty with outmatch the bastards who will inevitably try to get her down?

Or, can I just watch the falling leaves litter the page and savor the sweetness as a ladybug alights on my moving pen? Can I just let the day mother me as I trust that my creations, both human and literary, can make their way through this day without my worry nor intervention? 

Can I just be in this moment, tired and proud, overflowing with gratitude and apprehension? Can I put aside my worries for just a little while and meet myself on the page during this perfect October afternoon? 

The Medicine I Take When the Words Won’t Flow

And this is when I realize that, even though I know writing is the best medicine, sometimes it requires a big old spoonful of sugar first.

You need to get centered and refocus your inner vision before you can just dive in and meet yourself on a blank page.

When this happens to me, I do something that I’ve been doing since long before I became a mother or an author… I look to the cards. 

This might be my first child’s tenth birthday, but it’s almost my tarot deck’s twentieth. In 1999, I was an American college student living in Galway, Ireland. On Samhain - that’s probably “Halloween” to you - I bought Caitlin Matthew’s Celtic Wisdom Tarot at the Hawkins House Bookshop. I’ve called on these cards for guidance and assurance ever since.

I never cease to be surprised and gratified by the messages that come through when I take the time to consult the cards. (And I never stop saying, “You can’t make this shit up!”) As I saw the cards arrayed before me on this particular autumn afternoon, part of me sighed “of course” and part of me gasped “thank you.”

The cards that come up for my daughter and my book offered layers of blessings and hope. The card that represents me showed me how much I am struggling to accept all the goodness and all the possibility being lavished upon us right now.


Inside My “What Needs My Attention Now?” Tarot Reading

I came to the cards knowing that I both my daughter’s milestone birthday and the birthing of my book were competing for my attention. I also knew that I was confused about how to hold myself in the midst of all this creative magic.

Though I didn’t know what to write about in my journal, I knew just what to do with the cards. Intuitively, I laid two cards for my daughter, and two cards for my book. I placed one card for myself at the center.

Of course, the first card to represent my daughter is a 10. The 10 of Art (the suit of Cups in a more traditional deck) is a sign of joy, harmony with the earth, and lasting happiness. The other card is the 1 of Knowledge (the Ace of Pentacles), which indicates Sovereignty and “the touchstone of self-realization.” It’s a perfect way to describe her own next decade, the one in which she will begin to make her own choices and learn how to work with the princess within so she can crown herself queen of her own life.

As for my book, the first card is The Fool. In the Celtic Wisdom deck, it’s called The Soul. The wide-open wanderer is just starting out on the great quest. This card is followed by the 1 of Skill (or the Ace of Wands) and is another potent symbol of beginnings, enterprise, and creative initiatives. I know I am meant to understand that the publication of this book is just the start of the adventure.

Finally, there is the card that represents me at the center of my two most vivid concerns, motherhood and authorship.

The 6 of Art (again, that’s the suit of Cups) is the only card that is out of sync with all these 10s, 1s, and 0s. It depicts a student poet in one of Ireland’s ancient bardic academies lying with eyes closed in “the house of memory.” This is where the storytellers would go to compose poetry and commit to memory the great sagas that preserved and connected the culture.

I smile because I am a storyteller and I love this card. It is the only card in the spread that is reversed, however. When a card is upside down, I understand that to mean that its energy is available to me, but it’s blocked or impeded in some way. I want to be the bard, but I’ve been so caught up in wanting it that I couldn’t see that I already am.

Finding a Way to the Page

Seeing my own story re-told before me through a series of symbols and myths loosened my grip on “can I? and “should I?” and released me from all that self-imposed stress. I was able to soak up the sunlight and simply be with the big moments that are ten years of motherhood and the birthing of a book.

Thanks to the cards, I was able to get to the page to tell this story, a story that matters to me as a mom and an author who wants to recall this important moment of becoming. I was able to perform what I call the Alchemy of Story and take my own wonder, worry, and experience and use it to tell a story that just might help a reader like you.

There are so many ways to access the stories within you. I have a feeling that the cards can help you as they’ve helped me.

Whether you’re a writer hoping to get clarity on your next creative project of your simply someone who finds herself asking “what needs my attention now?” I would love to share the cards with you.

Learn more about how a Tarot and Intuitive Healing Session can help you live and tell a more powerful story. (Book a session by October 31 and save $50!)