March Tarot for Yogis (originally published on Wanderlust Journal)

this post originally appeared on Wanderlust Journal here.

Winter is the time for deep internal transformation. It’s a powerful time when you are asked to look inward and strengthen your emotional and mental self. While it is a great time for a fiery and sweaty physical practice, it serves to remember that the aim of intense physical practice is to bring aid you in settling down for meditation and introspection (pratyahara, dharana, dhyana).

Whatever you hold in your heart through the winter will become your bounty in the seasons to follow, so be a snake and shed your skin this month. March is quite powerful as it’s the last bit of winter and the beginning of sweet spring. As such, I asked the deck this month: “What is holding us back from transformation? What is the way forward?”

Our deck this month is the Claude Burdel, 1751, a variation of the Tarot de Marseilles. While the Rider-Waite-Smith deck is considered classical at this point, and it’s certainly widely used and recognized as the Tarot deck, the Tarot de Marseilles predates it by over 150 years. While the game of tarot originated in the fourth century, the Tarot de Marseilles is the first deck released for the purpose of divination in 1709. A few decades later, master card maker Claude Burdel released this version in Frigourg, Switzerland. The particular deck I have is a limited edition run of the Claude Burdel, 1751 Tarot released in 2015.

This month I used a different spread, one I improvised for this reading but exists in many variations among readers. It’s a basic inverted triangle with the first card representing the main answer to your reading. Subsequent cards give further information. I drew one card to represent what holds us back, and then two sets of cards to represent possible outcomes, one where we successfully transform/shed this energy and one where we do not.

What holds you back? The High Priestess reversed
Outcome of transformation: The Ace of Cups and the Page of Coins
Outcome of holding on: The Ace of Wands and the Lovers reversed

Looking Back

This is really a great reading to contemplate this month, and it could not be more indicative of personal power. In the first position “La Papesse,” the High Priestess, is reversed. The High Priestess represents several aspects of femininity as classically defined in Yoga, think Yin. She is passive, deep, and turned inward. The High Priestess moves from intuition and a steady connection to Self. Reversed as it is here, the card represents a loss of the self. A disconnect, often through the opposite of introspection. This is a clear warning that external seeking is a mistake right now.

The reversed High Priestess is far too concerned what others think. She wants approval from people around her and is never satisfied, even when she receives it. There’s a fire to her searching as well, a restlessness. While the winter time is a great time for heat building practices like Vinyasa, this month Restorative and Yin Yoga styles will empower you. It’s a great time to try a sound journey or group meditation class.

Outcome of Going Forward

Two outcomes lie before you: One in which you nourish and support yourself and prepare to blossom in the spring; and one where your fire burns out your passions and partnerships. (Gulp!) On the right we find the Ace of Cups and the Page of Coins and on the left the Ace of Wands and the Lovers reversed. Interesting to note that the Ace of Cups and the Ace of Wands are in opposite positions in this reading and these two cards are also in many ways opposite from each other. The Ace of Cups is the power of femininity and water while the Ace of Wands is masculine and fire. It’s remarkable to see them in this reading, representing your motus operandi in these two different scenarios.

The Ace of Cups appears with the Page of Coins, a sturdy backbone, hard worker and a somewhat mystical being who is enthralled in his work. The Page of Coins is glad of the work itself and his commitment carries him through the difficult or mundane, just as how the effort of your practice is meant to be with you moment to moment. Use joyful effort to greet both familiar and unfamiliar obstacles in your yoga practice. The Page cards are sometimes represented as Princesses in other decks and in contrast with the Knight, the Page is a softer side of the suit represented. In this case the Coins suit represents Earth element, abundance and financial gain as well as success and in the case of this card, a kind of satisfaction. This outcome is saying that turning inward and using a soft, heart centered approach will help you bloom abundantly this spring.

Outcome of Dwelling

On the other hand, the Ace of Wands is coupled with the Lovers, reversed. There is a continued trend here of seeing cards from the previous month’s reading (despite different decks each month), so the Lovers is a repeat from February. You may remember that the Lovers is a card that also represents commitment, typically of a romantic nature and it can also include any type of partnership or object of devotion. To see it reversed indicates an imbalance, relationships gone awry, coupled with the Ace of Wands the source of the trouble right now is forceful will, too much fire, too much passion, a heat that burns out and burns things up.

Have you ever had the experience of practicing Sun Salutations while you are really angry? I have experienced myself become more and more agitated as I continue these repetitive heat building postures. I remember speeding up more and more, my breath louder and louder, if I had walked out of the room at that moment I may have snapped someone’s head off for getting in my way. This is one of the ways that introspection in your practice can be a cathartic experience. I did not walk off of my mat in anger, I continued through Warriors, balances, long seated postures, a supported Savasana. I released my anger that day and found sweet rest by surrendering and accessing the High Priestess within me.

Your ability to be with yourself is powerful, use these next few weeks to enjoy introspection and spend the best quality time with yourself. Yes, it will be the best thing for the valuable relationships in your life, and more importantly, it will be the best thing for you.


February Tarot for Yogis (originally posted to Wanderlust Journal)

this post originally appeared on Wanderlust Journal here.

There has always been something mystical about the month of February. The only month with 28 days and the one in which we dedicate a holiday to love, it is the last full month of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. This February, for our monthly Tarot for Yogis forecast, I asked for advice for how to keep going if the winter slog hits during this otherwise magical month.

This month’s deck is the traditional Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, also called the Rider deck. Rider is the original publisher of this deck, and esteemed occultist Arthur Edward Waite directed the illustrations. Interesting to note here is the backstory of unsung illustrator Pamela Colman Smith, a woman of color with Jamaican ancestry who was born into an aristocratic New York family. The deck originally appeared in 1910. Today it is the ubiquitous Tarot familiar to people with even only a burgeoning interest in the subject. You will find it called many combinations of Rider-Waite-Smith, and you can also find many more modern artistic decks inspired by this old faithful. (Like the Fenestra Tarot I used last month).

To me, this is actually a newer deck. While I was thrilled to learn Tarot from my Grammy, Aunties, and Mother over the years, my secret rebellion was to choose my own deck that none of them used. (Though I wanted nothing to do with the ever popular Rider-Waite deck until after adolescence, I now hold a great appreciation for the rich symbolism of this deck and the ones it has inspired.

This three card spread is the same as last month. The first card symbolizes what lies behind us, the middle card is our current place and time, and the third card represents advice for what lies ahead. Remember, a three card spread can be used for nearly any reading you’d like as long as you are clear about the representation of each place before you pull your cards. Meditate on the specific place as you draw each card. For example, as I pulled the Lovers card (which I pulled first), I thought “Where are we now?”

What’s behind you? The Six of Pentacles
Where are you now? The Lovers
What’s before you? The Star

Looking Back

The Six of Pentacles is in the past position and I’m not surprised the Tarot is being playful. This card was in the future position of our January reading—there’s obvious symbolism here beyond the meaning of the card. What once was the future is now the past, the Wheel of Life is always turning and taking action is important because today’s future is tomorrow’s past. Learn your lessons and move on, yogis!

If you remember, the Six of Pentacles is a complex card which represents generosity and charity (service, seva), and also the relationship between those who have and those who have not. The classical depiction of this card seen here makes it clear that there is a great difference between the man giving out the coins and the ones who ask for it. It’s hard not to see political and economic implications in this card. In this reading, however, the card seems to take on additional significance. Looking at the card from a spiritual sense and referencing our January reading, the man holding the coins is a judge. His scale represents discernment and balance itself. He can also represent Abundance personified, and sharing with the one who knows how to ask and receive.

What is your relationship with abundance? Do you pursue opportunities that will help you achieve your goals? What I see in this reading is a backbone, a past supporting you with a foundation of receptivity. Ask for what you need and what you want, bring your intentions to the mat. Find discipline, devote yourself to rituals that serve your greater purpose, and increase your receptivity like yoga, herbal tea, bubble baths, and meditation. This could be a good time to meditate with mantra that represents your desire or intention. These practices support you on your way forward.

The Here and Now

The Lovers take center stage this month (an appropriate nod to Valentine’s Day). Yet this card is not only about love and romance. The Lovers represent balance of opposites, commitment, relationships of all natures, co-operation and growing together. In today’s world the Lovers might well represent the partner your launching a start-up with as much as your romantic interest. Where are you committed right now? What are you building in your life, and with whom? These questions are important as we begin the month to let you know where your work needs to be done.

Balance means that you’re not only focused on what you want and need out of these partnerships. Are your partner’s needs met? Do they feel heard? Being receptive is a real theme right now. Important to consider, given the rich symbolism of this card: While both members of this couple are standing in front of a tree, the one behind the man is burning and barren while the one behind the woman bears fruit (and a serpent, another rich symbol which can point to abundance and transformation).

Just as in yoga, masculine energy is associated with the sun, with rational over emotion, and the element of fire. This card represents a time when being passive and, yes, receptive, is the more abundant path. Focus on how you practice Savasana, practice soaking in the experience. It’s not about fixing the pose and making it perfect, just absorbing the place and time you’re in. This could be a great month to take some Restorative yoga classes.

Facing Forward

Finally, a wonderful future outlook. The Star depicts a peaceful scene, an unencumbered figure who is not collecting water to conserve, but is actually playing in the water. There is no need to conserve, there’s trust in abundance. You’ll notice that both of the figures in the foreground of the Lovers as well as the figure in the Star are all naked. This represents innocence and also a freedom. The Star is someone who has been through difficulty, felt loss and struggle, and has found their peace.

This month, the path to this freedom and inner peace is truly through listening before acting. Practice Ujjayi breathing to balance your throat chakra and cultivate ease in communication. Be reflective in your practice, be in partnership with yourself as well as others and be less forceful with your own will this month. Your best opportunities may arise through others. This is the month to enjoy your community, your kula, your tribe. Receive the gifts they have to offer, and celebrate the cultivation of your own abundance.


why I still collected eclipse water

On this past Saturday evening as I tidied my apartment and put my work away, I looked out my window to see a slow rain. I leave a pot on my fire escape (I’m the top floor) to collect rain water for my beloved plants. This evening I realized the Full Blood Moon Eclipse would be the next day. (pictured above and captured by my talented cousin Jesse Martinez)

Without any hesitation, I dumped the rainwater that had been collecting into a mason jar for my plant babies and set the container out anew to harvest this gift of rain water charged with the energy of the coming moon. It rained through Sunday afternoon and I collected a large jar of this water. Quite pleased.

Later this day I saw a lot of warnings floating around the Instagram witch community I follow. Essentially, “I wouldn’t want to drink or bathe in eclipse water! This is not good water for setting an intention or purifying!”

While still respecting these witches and their practices, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. Especially after seeing it shared by a few people who I recognize as quite new to the practice. At the same time I was amused, I also feel a little bit badly for these practitioners who seem to blindly follow social media for their spiritual practice.

Let me explain further, and explain a couple of things ::

  • Full Moon water/New Moon water/Eclipse water actually refer specifically to water placed in a cauldron or other container and left out under the night sky to be charged with the energy of the moon. The distinction being that this was rainwater, which I consider a gift as it falls pure and I believe carrying the charge of the Moon when within the day before or after a Full or New Moon.
  • You may find varying information about the uses of this water, I would say that Full Moon Water is purifying while New Moon Water would be better to set and seal an intention although I would also substitute one for the other in a ritual.

This brings me to remind you that it’s truly the symbolic meaning that you assign to any object which gives it that meaning. Magick is an energetic practice and the stronger your relationship to your own subtle body the greater ability you will have to work in conjunction with the Moon’s energy towards your purpose.

Finally, I do understand the online opinions I saw regarding eclipse water. An eclipse does have a very different energy than a traditional Full Moon. Eclipses reveal things, they have darker energy, the energy of secrecy and also with this particular moon the energy of a closing cycle. Personally I can think of many reasons to use this water in ritual. Rather than share my own reasons with you, I’d like to honor the energy of secrecy and instead invite you to consider your own purposes for this water.

My practice follows the opinion that there is great power in secrecy. My practice is personal to me, I am so lucky to have a matriarchal lineage of practitioners that I can speak with for guidance and I do share my practice within my family. As keeping my spirituality personal is so important to me, I do not share much of it in yoga although to me they are linked. I have had a few students who seek this kind of guidance and I will offer it although I have not had a serious student of witchcraft. I’m open to this in the future but any student interested in this would have to be quite dedicated and motivated independently as well as I firmly believe the only way in to this kind of practice is through intense self-study and reflection with guidance from trusted sources.

I am happy to be sharing Tarot monthly via Wanderlust Journal and plan these posts to be both a reading as well as some useful information for those wishing to learn to read Tarot.

I’d love to hear from you on this topic in the comments below. Are you interested in this material? Do you have a relationship to magickal practice? Comment below or shoot me an email!


January Tarot for Yogis (originally posted to Wanderlust Journal)

this post originally appeared on Wanderlust Journal here.

Yoga is an ancient practice for self-examination, as is meditation. With origins as a card game that became a tool for divination and self examination in the 15th century, the roots of the tarot are comparatively modern. Occultists from this time and since have incorporated all three practices in ritual practice. Today, there are hundreds of different decks relating to all manner of interests, and tarot is widely used as a tool for insight. In my personal practice, I use tarot readings to guide my reflection, my meditations, and my home yoga practice as well as my teaching to the public. I take these reflections to my mat to help bring even deeper insight and lead me on my spiritual path.

January is named for Janus the god of doorways. It’s a powerful time of year to set an intention and decide what you will nurture throughout the coming months. It’s a time to evaluate growth, and nourish yourself in a way that’s consistent with your goals as well as your needs. Our first tarot reading of the year offers advice for seekers in 2019.

I performed this reading with the beautiful Fenestra Tarot by Chatriya. (It’s based on the classic Rider-Waite deck that will be be more familiar to many practitioners.) My personal connection to this deck is through my grandmother who was my first tarot teacher. I purchased this deck shortly before she died while on my way to visit her and shared it with her; we agreed it was very romantic.

This particular spread is a simple three-card spread. The first card represents the past, the second is the present and the third is the future. You can actually assign any meanings to the three cards in a 3 card spread so long as you are clear on the meaning before you shuffle and pull the cards. This makes it a very useful spread to know and one I often use for shorter 30 minute readings. This Past-Present-Future reading was in answer to the question “What advice do you have for practitioners at the start of 2019?”

What’s behind you? The Magician.
What’s before you? Six of Pentacles.
Where are you now? Ten of Swords (Reversed)

Looking Back

The Magician is in the Past position, representing what’s behind us. He is a symbol of action, skill, wisdom and craft. Do you trust the skills you’ve built to be there for you? Can you remember the efforts of 2018 and feel confident in what you’ve crafted? In practice, this is akin to crossing the threshold to be able to balance on your head or forearms. The journey can be so long and sometimes you won’t see your progress, until suddenly that work amounts to an ease with a pose that was once impossible. Suddenly, you’ve developed a new nature. Even if the image is still unclear, you can still find trust for the efforts you’ve made when they have come from your authentic self.

The Here and Now

In the Present position is the Ten of Swords, and here it’s reversed.* The Ten of Swords is a very unpleasant card symbolizing ruin, pain, sacrifice. Reversed however, the message is quite different. Now is the time of strength and determination. It’s a moment where you have overcome adversity, or you are in the final processes of this difficulty as 2018 closes and the last moon cycle of the year winds down. Strength and determination are typical qualities of Capricorn, and we are in the season of the Ram right now. Call upon your own strength, and trust that the skills you’ve developed (the Magician behind you) are here to support you. Trust in your capabilities, release the story of pain and torment and recognize that all along you’ve been in training and now you are S T R O N G. Use your strength and your skills wisely. Be realistic and gentle with the goals you are setting for your body and your mind this year. Value progress over measuring it and trust that you are already enough. If that headstand still eludes you, trust that showing up and working as you are will get you there; pushing too hard is unwise and unskillful, it often harms more than helps.

Facing Forward

The future looks, complicated, so you will need your steadiness. The Six of Pentacles represents generosity and charity, and the inequality represented between one who has and those who have not. What is your relationship to help? Do you receive it well? Can you ask for it? Can you give help to others wisely? As a student, are you willing to be vulnerable and ask a teacher for guidance where you need it? The wise one knows when to be a beggar and when to be a benefactor. There comes a time when we all must ask for help. Those who don’t know how will suffer greatly in life, and may find that they plateau and lose interest in their goals. The squeaky wheel gets the grease—and there is nothing wrong with being a squeaky wheel sometimes. Give yourself permission to need people. Your kula (tribe) are those who authentically care for you. When you receive help from someone who loves you, it gives you an opportunity to deepen your appreciation and your relationship with that person. Vulnerability is a strength.

There is also a time for you to extend what you have and what you know to others and there is nuance in this. Do you give your money to beggars on the street or a well researched organization with outreach programs? Service (seva) is a step on the path of yoga that enriches your life and your perspective. Consider your commitments to service, where do you feel you’ll have the most impact? On the same note, how does it feel when someone “bestows” unwanted advice on you? A true practitioner is one who knows how to listen.

The best way to practice listening is listening to your own inner voice in meditation. Sit quietly, breathe, hear your thoughts without responding. Give this gift to others as an act of service and support. Unwanted advice may come from a place of good intention but often it feels to the recipient like an ego trip, or perhaps like they haven’t been heard. Knowing when and how to give is what allows you to be truly impactful. Be wise with your aid, do not give where it’s not needed and do not hold back where you are able to help. Complicated right?

This is your task to overcome, and to fall in love with along the way. As the New Year begins, wake yourself from the singular focus of mastering your skills. Master instead the delicate balance of humility and generosity. After all, intentions are a dance—not a one way street. Be easy on yourself as you explore new ways of being and inevitably fall into old patterns sometimes too. The only way to fail your resolution is to stop trying… just like yoga. Ask and offer help wisely and you will find success.

* Card reversals can be controversial, some people use them and some do not. I only recognize reversals if the information provided with the deck mentions them. I like to work with the intentions of the authors and artists who create a deck as well as my own intentions. It works for me.


new moon january 2018

Tuesday offers another New Moon, a cycle beginning. This one is in Capricorn, which is the energy of a boss bitch who will get in your face if you try to resist her way. So, be steady, and be the boss this month. Set your goals and see your future, then go after it. Be gentle on yourself and the people you love, you might feel unsettled right now, just chill out and do something that makes you feel accomplished and happy while you settle down again.

Do yoga that makes you feel steady, standing poses and twists, it can be a good time for binds that will give you structure to work with. Practice Pranayama and Restorative Yoga to stay fully charged so you can accomplish great things during this achievement driven Capricorn time. Prioritize yourself and you will feel important and strong.

Keep Citrine or Pyrite close this month for motivation and cultivating your inner power. Use Hematite or Agate for extra strength and grounding if you need it. Perform an intention setting ritual on Tuesday, take a nice bath, be quiet and receptive even if only for 30 minutes, set a little time apart for yourself.

I get much of my astrological information from my incredible Aunt, Lauren Coleman, who is so wise and has a wonderful way of writing. Check out her post on this New Moon in Capricorn here for more on what this New Moon means.

Keep loving yourself and sending love to the world. We all need it.