Wednesday 30 October 2013

What Tarot Taught Me About Loving Myself

This blog post is my contribution to the Samhain Tarot Blog Hop for 2013, themed LOVE.

The blog post lined up before mine is written by Jera-Babylon Rootweaver and can be found here and the blog post lined up after mine is written by Alison Coals and can be found here

If you get lost somewhere between Rootweaver's, Alison's or my blog, please visit the Samhain Tarot Blog Hop 2013 master list to read the posts of the rest of the Tarot bloggers here:

Thank you for visiting my blog whether you are a regular follower, a Facebook friend who has chanced upon my post, or you have  been linked to my blog post from any of my fellowTarot blog hop participants' posts.

We are almost coming to the end of the year.  Some of my friends from the Northern hemisphere are well-suited in their sweaters, coats, gloves and boots.  Thankfully in Singapore, I am still perspiring in the sweltering heat. However, cultural, religious and ethnic celebrations do transcend geographical and racial barriers.  So I am quite excited about celebrating Samhain or Halloween with my friends from all over the world by writing this blog post.

Why Love?
When Spring came, love was in the air.  When Summer came, love was in the air. When Autumn came, and the hint of wintry winds started to cut through the air, it did not seem like a right season to celebrate love. The malls and restaurants in Singapore had been decked out in Halloween decorations.  Did I see anything that remotely resembled Hearts and Flowers?  NO.  So when we were instructed by Alison Cross of the Games of Throne Tarot Blog fame, to write about the topic of Love in the Samhain Tarot Blog Hop, I had to admit that I was not enthused at all.  “Love!  What did Love have to do with anything during this season’s celebrations?” I muttered and shook my head in despair as I added my name to the bloggers’ participants’ list.  So I quote Jordan Hoggard here, “Wild horses can’t be broken, and with the thinner veil I'm looking forward to them galloping and traipsing around the hop in MORE places than normal. I am really enthused about this topic. And, with the thinner veil even more Lurve can come through.”  If you know Jordan, he is a little bit “Woo-Woo” crazy but oh so brilliant.  So I took his advice and cracked on with the topic as best as I could, with the aim of exploring how I could use LOVE to work on a rather difficult issue I was currently facing – Drawing Out My Shadow Self.
What Is Samhain?
Samhain is celebrated as a Celtic New Year. It marks the start of Winter, as we walked into the darker half of the year when the days get even shorter and the night gets much longer. As a Roman Catholic, I celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day. Like my friends who celebrate Samhain, it is a time I honour my ancestors who have long passed. As the topic for this Tarot Blog Hop celebrated Love at Samhain, I thought it appropriate to remember and honour my late Granddad.  He had been critical in teaching me the values of humility, grace, love and compassion when I was a child.  Granddad was that embodiment of love and compassion.  He was as patient as a saint and devoted his life to caring for and making his family happy.  My childhood with Granddad by my side was filled with so much love.  He taught me not to ask for more and to live in gratitude for what I had.  He taught me to deal with the differences amongst people around me with compassion.  He said we could not change people, but we could change ourselves. 

My Shadow Self

And this being the festival of Samhain, which casts a shadow upon my path as I walked into the darker half of the year, I thought it appropriate too, to explore how I could use Love as the perfect tool to deal with my shadow self which reared its ugly head when I had to deal with a personal issue recently. 

Last week, I had a run-in with someone who told me that I was not competent at a skill in spite of the fact that I had developed that skill for more than 17 years now. What upset me most was that she could not articulate her reasons why she thought I was incompetent and even “grasped at straws” to throw preposterous and unsubstantiated claims about what I had or had not done.  Upon analysis of that conversation, I realized that the only reason I was criticized and attacked specifically for those skills was that it was a response to her insecurities of not possessing the same skills and experience that I had.  Her shadow self was rearing its ugly head. However, what was even more interesting, was my assessment that when I had responded to her criticism with an aggressive defense, my own shadow self had also reared its ugly head because within me, there was a deep insecurity and fear of criticisms, alternative viewpoints and change.

After that showdown, I promptly packed up and left for a week’s vacation in the magical island of Bali and went through daily yoga studies and practice.  That was the best week ever because I came back with a rejuvenated mind and spirit to take on, not that person who criticized me, but my shadow self. 

Carl Jung said, “Whatever the form the shadow takes, the function of the shadow is to represent the opposite side of the ego and to embody those qualities that one dislikes most in other people.”
My shadow self reflected some vestiges of insecurity, intolerance to differing opinions and fear of change which I had hidden because I was taught to be strong, aggressive and formidable in the face of obstacles,

In my yoga studies, I learnt about Ahimsa, one of the Yamas or moral codes of Yoga which preached non-violence. Ahimsa opened my heart and mind to the fact that I was ultimately causing myself “violence” and hurting myself and others around me in the process because of my anger and disappointment.  I was also not practicing Ahimsa when I raved and ranted about what a stupid, short-sighted cow she was.

In my spiritual journey, I learnt the axiom “ As above, so below.  As within, so without.  So that the miracle of the one can be established.” I drew significance of this axiom to my situation, acknowledging that what appeared in outer situations, was a reflection of my inner consciousness.

 I was usually aggressive and ambitious and often approached issues with a hard-nosed, rigid and arrogant attitude as if I knew best because I was very experienced and highly skilled in what I did.  My shadow self however, embodied a very insecure person who hated criticisms, differing opinions and I was not prepared to accept changes that impacted my sense of security within my comfort zone.  When I was criticized, the first instincts was for my shadow self to respond to that criticism as I saw a negative me, being projected by the other person who had criticized me.  I responded to her by fighting back with tenacity to defend my turf because I recognized that sense of insecurity.

A Tarot Lesson In Love
With a new perspective and my openness to embrace change and the differing opinions of others, I remembered the lessons of love, compassion, humility and grace that Granddad had taught me when I was little.  So I created a Tarot spread with the intent to help provide advice on how I could use Love and Compassion to deal with my shadow.

For this purpose, I am using the Morgan Greer Tarot deck created by Bill Greer and Lloyd Morgan.

Managing My Shadow Self With Love And Compassion 
My Shadow Self - The Devil:
I was not surprised to pick this card as a symbol of my shadow self.  The Devil is a card reflecting fear, obsession, and the hidden forces of negativity to which I had bound myself to and hidden away in the closet.   My insecurities masked by an aggressive front had always been an issue that could potentially escalate to misunderstandings and miscommunication.

How can I show love and compassion to my external self? – Ace of Swords:

The Ace of Swords is a symbol of mental clarity, deep insights attained and a greater understanding of a situation or self.  In this case, if I had not been driven by my spiritual path, guided by the grace of my Catholic faith, wisdom of Tarot and the precepts of Yoga, I would not have been able to recognize how much my shadow self could leave me stuck in a perpetual pattern of approaching challenges with a passive-aggressive response.  However, recognition was not enough.  The pattern would continue if I did not take action to confront the issue. The Ace of Swords was a card advising me to cut through the problem by being more solution-centric than reactive, and not allow my responses to criticisms be dictated by my insecurities and fears.  Remembering the love, compassion, grace and humility which Granddad taught me, I am resolved to checking myself in the future when similar situations happen by calmly stepping back to re-evaluate the root-cause of these challenging situations.

If I loved myself enough, I deserved to treat myself better by ensuring that my external self could respond to future challenges with a level of dignity.

How can I show love and compassion to my shadow self? – 7 of Cups:

The 7 of Cups is a symbol of choices, some real and some illusionary.  This card had posed a question to me, “When my shadow self reared its ugly head as I responded to that criticism, were my fears and insecurities real or illusionary?”  I was blown away by the fact that my answer to that question was, ”Not sure.”  You see, when I was criticized for lacking competency in a certain skill, I responded without opening my heart and mind to the potential of learning new skills and knowledge.  With arrogance, I took it for granted that I was sufficiently skilled.  As a consequence, I did not give myself room to grow.  The 7 of Cups urged me to lend wisdom to my perspectives and discern the difference between what my real fears were and what were the illusionary ones.

If I loved myself enough, the only fear my shadow self should be having, was the fear of not giving myself a fair chance to learn more.

How can I manage my duality with Love and Compassion? – The Tower Reversed:

Recognizing that my shadow self and I would need to coexist, I had to look for a way to manage that uneasy relationship. The Tower reversed card was a reflection of my fear of change.  I viewed a criticism of me as another person’s intention to rock my boat and make changes that are driven by his or her personal agenda. That was the reason why I reacted so badly.  Instead of being opened to the idea that change or differing opinions could inspire new ideas, I resisted with my aggressive response.  I reacted with anger, disappointment and shock when I should have asked the question, “What could I do to make things better?  What could I do to learn more so that I could be of better help to you?”

If I loved myself enough, I should allow my duality to coexist in harmony by accepting changes and differing opinions with more confidence in myself.  I should see every potential change as an opportunity to learn and grow, hone my skills further, do more, and do better.

Love And Compassion

Granddad should be proud of me.  He had taught me well.  As a professional Tarot reader and Numerologist tasked to guide clients through their issues every day, how could I render love and compassion to them when I could not render myself the same?

“If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others.  If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others” ~ Dalai Lama

About The Writer:

The writer of this blog post is a marketeer by trade, and a tarot card reader by accident. She was awarded a Certified Professional Tarot Reader qualification from the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA) and is also a certified numerologist.  She is currently running a Tarot consultancy based in Singapore called Sun Goddess Tarot,  which provides confidential intuitive readings combining the metaphysical disciplines of Tarot, Numerology and Astrology via face to face and emails as well as readings at corporate and private events and workshops.  A member of the American Tarot Association (ATA) and the Tarot Association of the British Isles (TABI), she is also a reader for the Free Tarot Network and mentors Tarot protégés on behalf of the American Tarot Association

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Trusting My Intuition

Sniffing Out People Quite Easily

When you were introduced to a new colleague, or an acquaintance, how many times have you shaken his or her hands and whispered under your breath, “This person is more than meets the eye.”   Since I was little, I often tapped into my intuition to assess a person or a situation to help me make better decisions.  Even at work, as I juggled multiple projects, responded to tight deadlines, some of which were moving deadlines, and managed a team, it was often a good measure of experience and technical skills mixed with a large dose of intuition that helped me make important decisions.  Some of these decisions were career-defining ones. 

Even when I had performed a Myers Briggs assessment which was a psychometric test to understand my personality type, the results came up indicating that I was one who took an objective approach to problem-solving and used facts and figures to make decisions.  I was only interested in what was real and factual.  I was glad that this part of me, this objectivity, had honed me as a good manager at work, but I was even more glad that  over the years, as I walked my spiritual path, I trusted my intuition enough to make me an even better manager.

The High Priestess

The High Priestess card in Tarot was always a fantastic muse to encourage me to tap into my intuition whenever I picked the card to respond to a pressing issue. A spiritually enlightened being, she leveraged divine wisdom and her knowledge of the universe, to open my heart and mind to the subconscious.  As she sat behind the thin veil that separated her from the conscious and the subconscious mind, she transpired her soft whispers of guidance into my innermost thoughts.  The High Priestess would speak in her softest voice such that when I heard an inner voice that said, “Watch out, there could be a treacherous bend up ahead.’, I knew I had to be prepared for it.  I often used this phrase, “I saw the writing on the wall” when I made tough work or project decisions, significant career changes, or re-organized the team structure and  scope.  Sometimes, these decisions might raise some eyebrows but I trusted the High Priestess’ energy in me to assure myself that everything would turn out all right in the end.

“It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover.’ – Henri Poincare

Below this blog post is a picture of the High Priestess from my very own deck which is still work in progress at the time of publication of this post.

The Moon

The Moon card in Tarot was another wonderful card that encouraged me to tap into my intuition to formulate a response whenever I felt that a situation was not right. It was a card that waved a red flag at me to wake me up to the fact that I had to confront my fears and anxieties when I sensed that there were undercurrents suggesting that these issues were caused by the hidden agendas of other people around me.  The Moon card almost always showed up in the face of office politics and career crossroads.  However, my experience has taught me that fear and anxiety would cripple us into inaction and was highly unproductive.  Leveraging my intuition to deal with these issues proactively instead, meant that I would be backed by a solid plan to help me maintain my resilience as I sailed into the murky waters of uncertainty.

“Fear is an illusion that creates a false sense of isolation existing only in your imagination.” – Jeraldine Saunders

Below this blog post is a picture of the Moon from the Book of Shadows Volume 2 – So Below Tarot deck created by Barbara Moore

Queen Of Cups

The Queen of Cups was yet another card that encouraged me to trust my intuition. The Queen embodied one who was compassionate and creative, yet intuitive and emotionally balanced.  She was emotionally balanced and controlled no matter what challenges were hurled her way. I had an ex-boss who was very much like this Queen when I worked for a local bank some years back.  She nurtured her team with a sense of calm and collectedness.  She made decisions after ensuring that everyone’s opinions and concerns were heard and understood.  She was slow to anger, and instead of reacting to actions that were contrary to her expectations, she took time to think through, process the intent behind these actions within her heart and mind, before deciding on what she had to do next.  She was highly intuitive and read people like a book.  Her intuition helped her discern how she should be developing each and every one of her team members.  She had about 50 people  in her team, definitely not an easy job.  It was also her intuition that helped her anticipate the changes that evolved later when an organizational restructure turned the company into an unrecognizable foreign bank.  She had been my mentor for years and I had emulated my management style on the way she used to manage our marketing department.  Almost 12 years after, I am still learning from her.

“The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from the harm till the end of your days.” – Lao Tzu

Below this blog post is a picture of the Queen of Cups from the Rosetta Tarot deck created by M.M. Meleen.

Trusting My Intuition

Trusting my intuition meant that I could effectively juggle a career as a marketing and communications professional at a multinational corporation with my passion as a certified professional Tarot reader and Numerologist.  Over and on top the skills and experience that I possessed, I also had to have a large dose of intuition to make big career and life decisions including those that impacted my family.   

I was once put down by a fellow Tarotist who had 30 years of experience under her belt.  She said, “So what if you had a Certified Professional Tarot Readers qualification?  I have 30 years of Tarot reading experience under my belt.”   Her words did not rock my confidence, It only strengthened my resolve to use my intuitive gifts to better serve my clients.   As my intuition had carried me through the ebbs and flows along the journey of my life and had been my guiding light every time my ship approached the rocky coast of life-changing moments, I have built the confidence to use that same intuition to guide my clients through their own journeys.

About The Writer:

The writer of this blog post is a marketeer by trade, and a tarot card reader by accident. She was awarded a Certified Professional Tarot Reader qualification from the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA) and is also a certified numerologist.  She is currently running a Tarot consultancy based in Singapore called Sun Goddess Tarot,  which provides confidential intuitive readings combining the metaphysical disciplines of Tarot, Numerology and Astrology via face to face and emails as well as readings at corporate and private events and workshops.  A member of the American Tarot Association (ATA) and the Tarot Association of the British Isles (TABI), she is also a reader for the Free Tarot Network and mentors Tarot protégés on behalf of the American Tarot Association
The High Priestess from my own deck - a work in progress.

The Moon from Barbara Moore's Book of Shadows Volume 2 - So Below Tarot deck

Queen of Cups from M.M. Meleen's Rosetta Tarot deck

Saturday 26 October 2013

What Does The Empress Card Convey About Being Your Own Brand?

My Skills As A Marketing Professional

I do not have 20 to 30 years of Tarot reading experience and I have not had many years of experience running a Tarot business.  However, I had spanned a career of almost 20 years managing brand development, marketing strategy and communications, with more than half of these spent at multi national corporations honing these skills and contributing to the growth of these organizations.

So what I could speak most comfortably and confidently about at the upcoming American Tarot Association's first Online Tarot Conference this weekend, was about marketing.  I agreed to do a presentation on Strategic Marketing Techniques For Tarot Businesses, because along my amazing journey with Tarot, I had the privilege and the opportunity to help support the growth of some of my fellow Tarotists' businesses alongside my own, with tried and tested tips that I had picked up along the way as a marketing and communications professional.

Using My Skills To Market My Tarot Business

When I mentioned numerous times before that I loved welding my skills as a marketeer with Tarot, I finally understood why and how the Universe had conspired to make me the conduit of learning to help some of my fellow Tarotists who are either starting, or in the midst of growing their Tarot businesses.

Building Brand Authenticity No Matter The Brand Or The Business

One thing I had always been guided by in every decision I had made as a marketing and communications professional, was the goal of building brand authenticity.  When I was working at an insurance company Aviva,  I was adamant about constantly communicating proof points that affirmed Aviva's brand positioning then, of Nobody Recognizes You Like Aviva.   We did so when we managed the Aviva Ironman 90.3 sponsorship to imprint in consumers' minds that the company was always in every life-stage of each and every one of its customers, perseveringly holding the hands of its customers to meet their evolving needs.  We also did so when we sold targeted health products aimed at young families because we knew that a birth in the family meant joy, elation as well as anxiety amongst parents about how best to protect their children and themselves. We recognised the needs within that segment and wasted no time developing products and communicating their benefits to this segment of new families.

Just like that experience of managing Aviva's brand, the same principle applies to one's Tarot business.  When I established Sun Goddess Tarot off the back of a period of negativity in my life, I was determined to stay true to my expansive zodiac sign of a Leo which was ruled by the Sun.  I wanted to bring positivity, light and optimism to my clients with my Tarot and Numerology skills.  My brand, my reading style, my advice-centric Tarot techniques and even the way I engaged my clients ( what I call here, my brand voice) all had to be driven by my brand intent.  I wanted to stay true to myself.  What I lacked in-depth experience as a Tarot reader, I made up for it with every intent to genuinely bring sunshine to my clients when they needed it most as I slowly and steadily grew my skills and experience.

The Empress Card's Message About Brand Authenticity

I am going to use the Empress card as my muse when I talk about brand authenticity at my presentation.  I see the Empress as the Earth Mother, deeply nurturing and very much in-tune with herself.  She creates abundance in everything she touches.  She is highly intuitive and very connected to the spiritual realm yet maintains grounded-ness in the material plane.  She is highly creative because she is so in touch with her feminine side, lending beauty to everything that she creates.

I urge fellow Tarotists particularly those who are in the beginning stages of building their Tarot businesses, to leverage the energies of the Empress. Nurture and grow your brand by keeping it authentic. Your brand reflects you.  While there are many great Tarotists we can learn and emulate from, they have their own unique ways of communicating their brand intent to their customers, and so do you.  Learn from them, but not copy them because you would want your clients to know and trust your brand only because you are the one behind that steering wheel.  Unleash your creativity and know that creativity knows no boundaries. Try and try again different marketing techniques and never be afraid to learn along the way and finally deploy the best technique that fits your business best. Follow your intuition.  You know what is best for your clients and how best to build that affinity between your brand and your clients.

When My Job As A Marketeer And A Tarot Reader Became One

I can clearly define how long I have been a marketing professional.  My involvement with tarot is less clearly defined.  From the time I was a young girl causing trouble at the neighbourhood playground, till the time I was involved in helping large multinational companies build and manage their brands,  I knew I was good at reading people intuitively.  For years i wrote this off as being "good at my job'.  Once I had the confidence to start Sun Goddess Tarot as a business, I took a leap of faith and allowed my two selves - financial marketeer and tarot reader - to become one.


What I have touched on within this blog post is just a highlight of what I will be covering at my presentation on Strategic Marketing Techniques For Tarot Businesses at the American Tarot Association Online Tarot Conference 2013 held on 26 October 12pm EST or 27 October 12am Singapore time.  Do enrol by clicking onto this link

Acknowledgement:  I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the fantastic creative work of a friend, Nadim Van der Ros, who supported me through this nerve-wrecking experience of getting me ready for this upcoming presentation.

About The Writer:

The writer of this blog post is a marketeer by trade, and a tarot card reader by accident. She was awarded a Certified Professional Tarot Reader qualification from the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA) and is also a certified numerologist.  She is currently running a Tarot consultancy based in Singapore called Sun Goddess Tarot,  which provides confidential intuitive readings combining the metaphysical disciplines of Tarot, Numerology and Astrology via face to face and emails as well as readings at corporate and private events and workshops.  A member of the American Tarot Association (ATA) and the Tarot Association of the British Isles (TABI), she is also a reader for the Free Tarot Network and mentors Tarot protégés on behalf of the American Tarot Association.


Add caption

The Empress Card  - the beginnings of my very own Tarot deck.
A work in progress and a labour of love developed 
from the visions of a friend and I