Theme, Ace of Swords. Swords is the element of Air in the realm of mind, thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and communication. Ace is the beginning, a gift from spirit holding all potential and possibility. This week, be ready to receive that new idea, new insight, divine inspiration. If you aren’t on the look out, you might miss it.

Focus, Strength. This Major Arcana card is about the Strength from within. A level of spiritual and emotional courage. This week, where do you need to access and use that Strength for your creative work or project?

Action, 4 of Wands. Wands is the element of Fire in the realm of spirit, creativity, career and work. Four is a number of stability and structure. Take action this week to create structures around your creative work, whether that is a commitment to it or an actual space set apart for it.

Gift, Queen of Swords. Again in the element of Air, but this time with the mistress of the element. Here is a woman who knows her mind and speaks with truth. Here is a writer whose words have power. Receive this gift this week. She empowers your creativity.

Categories Creativity, Tarot
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Theme, 7 of Cups. Cups is the element of Water in the realm of heart, emotions, dreams, intuition and creativity. This week, beware of letting yourself get distracted by other work or creative possibilities that distract you from your current project. Don’t succumb to bright, shiny object syndrome.

Focus, 2 of Swords. Swords is the element of Air in the realm of mind, thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and communication. Two is a number of choice and decision. This week, ask yourself, where do I need to trust my intuition instead of my logical brain when it comes to making a decision, especially regarding my creative work?

Action, Knight of Coins. Coins is the element of Earth in the realm of home, health and wealth. The Knight is the one who serves and protects. This week, you must leave the safe space of your studio or office and take your work out into the world. Speak, exhibit, perform.

Gift, 3 of Coins. Then, after getting out into the world with your work, you are ready to receive time alone in your work space with time to focus on finishing details before starting another project.

Categories Creativity, Tarot
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…Hermes only leads us to clarity when we abandon our preconceived plans. As with the Greek principle of aporia, only when we reach the point of pathlessness can a new way open before us.
~Aaron Cheak, PhD~

The other day, I was doing some reading and research and stumbled across the term “aporia.” Being the lover of words that I am, I had to check out the online Oxford English Dictionary to get a definition of this new-to-me word.

Aporia: an irresolvable internal contradiction or logical disjunction in a text, argument or theory.

Another definition is: impasse, difficulty of passing, lack of resources, puzzlement in philosophy.

This made me think about how often the people I work with on a regular basis–writers and creatives–face impasses, lack of resources, puzzlement or an internal contradiction that appears irresolvable in their work on a regular basis.

For example, you just published a book but when you sit down to work on the next one you hear that internal message of “you can’t write.”

Or you want to write but the fear makes challenges like time, money and energy seem insurmountable, irresolvable.

Or you find yourself in the middle of your work, unsure of where to go next and wonder what the heck you are doing and who do you think you are.

Aporia makes you feel like this card from the Major Arcana of the tarot—the Hanged Man.

“Traitor” from Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery by Robert Place

Hung up. Unable to move forward. Unable to do anything other than flail helplessly while hanging by one foot.

This is how you can feel if your work isn’t selling and bills are piling up. This is how you can feel when you have the deepest driving desire to do your work and everyone around you is telling you to get real, to be practical, to stop daydreaming.

But, the Hanged Man shows you how to move out of creative aporia.

1. Surrender to the experience. Stop flailing, trying to get loose, and cursing your helplessness. The more you flail, the tighter the knot gets in the rope around your foot. The more you flail, the more you spin in circles from that rope (which would make me dizzy and ready to send up my last meal). Didn’t you ever used to hang by your knees from the monkey bars? Pretend you are doing it again. And take a deep breath—or several.

2. Abandon preconceived plans. Too often, the temptation is to think you know what you know. You are certain that the story or the image or the melody should develop this way. So you keep pushing forward even when your intuition, or instincts or inner knowing urges you to do otherwise. Aporia is this internal impasse, an inability to move forward because you won’t abandon your “plan”. What would happen if you considered the impasse an opportunity for initiation into the deeper work? What if the impasse is actually a rebirth?

3. Look for new insights and perspectives. If you can let go of your notion of how the work should go, how your career should develop, etc. then you can give time and energy into looking at things upside down. Or you can ask, “How can I integrate what seems to be two contradictory notions? What is the big picture here? What am I not seeing that could free me and my work?”

There are many times and many ways you can experience aporia, can get “hung up”. It is how you co-exist with that experience that can make the difference.

As I tell clients when the Hanged Man shows up in a reading, recall the times as a child you lay on your bed with your head hanging over the edge as you viewed your world upside down. Remember how different things looked from that perspective? Consider trying it now and be aware of how vulnerable you feel in that position, prone on the bed with your throat exposed.

And be conscious of how you see things anew.

Aporia is an opportunity to cross a threshold into a new way of seeing and being…with your creative work.

Categories Creativity, Tarot


Theme, Page of Coins. Coins is the element of Earth in the realm of home, health and wealth, anything in physical form. The Page is the youthful messenger modeling for you the energy of the week–being ready to share the beauty and gifts of your creativity in a practical or physical way. Hold that book up, exhibit that painting, play that piece of music.

Focus, 8 of Cups. Cups is the element of Water in the realm of heart, emotions, dreams, intuition and creativity. Eight is a number that indicates being near completion, a sense of movement toward that. See the Pisces Full Moon? Ask yourself this week, what is the creative vision or dream I now want to pursue? And what to I need to let go of emotionally in order to pursue it?

Action, 5 of Cups. Cups again. And the number five is one of challenge and change. In answer to the questions of the last card, one of the things you need to let go of is past disappointments. Stopping sitting there protecting other ideas or projects, worrying about your emotional vulnerability around them. Get up and get out there!

Gift, King of Swords. Swords is the element of Air in the realm of mind, thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and communication. The King is the master of the element. When you take the action above, someone comes into your arena to help you communicate about your work with more clarity and power. Perhaps, the action clears your mind so that you can do this for yourself, so that you can make more informed decisions and choices for your work.

Categories Creativity, Tarot

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.
~Carl Jung~

Bob and I spent this past weekend in Virginia with our oldest Stephen, his wife Mindy, and their two sons, Andrew (almost 5) and Ryan (almost 3). As is our usual routine on the morning of our return home, we ate breakfast and then prepared to load the car.

Bob and I don’t like to leave without first spending a little time with the boys in the morning but while Andrew plowed through his breakfast and talked with us, Ryan slept. I kept checking my watch. Finally, Ryan was up and dressed. I told him that Pop-pop and I were ready to leave.

“Play with me, G’andma.”

I reminded him that he’d slept in and it was time for Pop-pop and me to leave.

“Play with me, G’andma,” this time a little louder, a little more insistent with that edge of upset to it.


“Grandma, I have an idea,” Andrew piped up. “Why don’t you play with us for ten minutes?”

Well, what grandmother could refuse? After making sure that was agreeable to both boys, Bob and I dumped out some Legos and sat in the family room and played with the boys for ten minutes. When the time was up, we put everything away and without protest, Andrew and Ryan got up and proceeded to “help” us load our car. After kisses and hugs goodbye, Bob and I headed home.

Wasn’t that smart of Andrew to ask for just ten minutes (probably modeled by his also smart parents)? Can’t you just see your Muse negotiating for at least that minimal amount of time and attention?

“Play with me?”

You glance at your watch prepared to say no.

“Will you play with me for just ten minutes?”

How you can say no to such a manageable and heartfelt request from your Muse?

You can’t.

Chances are, of course, that once you start playing with your Muse, ten minutes will turn into 20, 30, or more.

And sometimes, because of life, it will just be ten.

But that’s okay.

Because sometimes, that is all your Muse needs.
Just ten minutes. Will you play for just ten minutes?

Categories Creativity, Family


Theme, Ace of Wands. Wands is the element of Fire in the realm of spirit, creativity, career, and work. Ace is the beginning, the seed. In Wands, Ace is the new creative project that carries passion and energy with it. This week, be alert for new ideas so that you can launch a new creative project with energy behind it.

Focus, Judgement. This Major Arcana card is about calling to vision, to rebirth and reawakening. Where are you called to new creative visions? How might an Ace of Wands idea really call to your clients or customers, or call you to great vision in your creative work?

Action, 5 of Swords. Swords is the element of Air in the realm of mind, thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and communication. Five is a number of change and challenge. This week, pick your verbal battles carefully, especially around defending or describing your work. Don’t take everyone on. You’ll wear yourself out.

Gift, The Moon. This Major Arcana card is about Moon-time things like dreams, intuition, and moonlit magic. Be ready to receive the gift of new insights, new inspiration through the night, especially from your dreams.

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Theme, 7 of Coins. Coins is the element of Earth in the realm of home, health and wealth. Seven is a number of action or being aware of action. This week, keep your eyes on your creative prize. That is, tend to your creative projects. Although they may be coming along nicely, now is not the time to expect them to come to fruition on their own. They still must be nurtured and guarded.

Focus, Knight of Wands. Wands is the element of Fire in the realm of spirit, creativity, career, and work. The Knight is the champion, the one who has what is necessary to do the job of serving and protecting. Ask yourself how you are the passionate, fiery champion for your creative work.

Action, 5 of Coins. Back in the element of Earth, you can see the woman with her hand outstretched seeking alms/aid, when right behind her is the possibility of a level of help or aid that is better than she can imagine. Look around you this week for where help is available to you that you are not receiving or aware of. Move from passive victim to active seeker.

Gift, Queen of Swords. Swords is the element of Air in the realm of mind, thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and communication. The Queen is the mistress of Air and, not only does she take no guff from anyone, but she knows how to get her point across, sharply and with intelligence. One of the sources of aid or help in your circle might be someone who can offer that skill to you in order to help you communicate better about your creative work. Be prepared to receive it.

Categories Creativity, Tarot

Empathy, the least comfortable of human emotions.
~Frances Gray Patton~

An important technique of fiction writing is Deep POV (Point of View). This technique uses the third person point of view in such a way that the reader feels as if she is inside the person’s head—or heart—for that scene.

Which means, as you read, page after page goes by, the words disappear, and you feel as if you’ve experienced what the character experienced. Tears, pounding heart, knotted stomach are signs that the writer has done her job with deep POV.

Why does that matter? Because, as Lisa Cron in her book, Story Genius, writes, “just like life, story is emotion based…In a story, if we’re not feeling, we’re not reading. It is emotion, rather than logic, that telegraphs meaning…”

To tap into that level of emotional connection, the writer has to know her characters, and, whether villain, sidekick, or heroine, she has to empathize with them.

Remember Darth Vader from Star Wars? Do you think George Lucas had some empathy for this character who was doomed to live his life behind that mask, knowing he had once been admired and even loved?

Empathy gives creative power in other forms of art, as well. Painting, music, dance, and theater all convey either pure emotion or use story as a vehicle for emotion.

Yes, you can connect mentally to the structure, design, composition, use of color, contrast, etc, but in order to really have an impact, the emotion—and therefore the empathy—has to be there.

Think of Michelangelo’s “Pieta”, the power of the grieving mother in that piece. Think of Picasso’s “Guernica” and the horror and anger and even despair there. Think of the dark emotions of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. The power of those works arises out of the creator’s empathy.

Empathy is defined as the ability to sense other people’s emotions or to share and understand another person’s emotions and experiences.

To truly reach depth and understanding in your creative work, you need empathy.

Empathy—often a hero’s greatest challenge—is also crucial to a successful, meaningful life.

How you use empathy—in your life and work—matters.


Theme, 6 of Wands. Wands is the element of Fire in the realm of spirit, creativity, career, and work. See how the Knight moves from the left (past) to the right (future)? This week ride forward on your past creative successes–of any kind. Let them carry you confidently into the future.

Focus, Page of Cups. Cups is the element of Water in the realm of heart, emotions, dreams, intuition and creativity. The Page is messenger. See how he holds that Cup as if it is precious? This week, ask yourself how you are holding your creative work for yourself and others. How are you relaying the sacred, intuitive aspect of your work?

Action, The Sun. This Major Arcana card is near the end of the Fool’s journey. Here is the Sun, a source of vital energy, of life, the star that all planets revolve around. This week, shine your creative light brightly. Illuminate the power of your work–and your creative successes–for others. Draw them to you with the power of your work.

Gift, 7 of Swords. Swords is the element of Air in the realm of mind, thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and communication. Here a burglar tries to enter your mind, steal your confidence and your trust in your creative ideas. The gift this week is one of awareness and understanding that allows you to shut the window (and the door) on those who would steal from you in one way or another.

Categories Creativity, Tarot


Theme, 4 of Wands. Wands is the element of Fire in the realm of spirit, creativity, career, and work. Four is a number of stability. This card is often called the wedding card. I call it the commitment card. Note how everything inside is lush and beautiful and everything outside is not. This week, be aware of when and how you are committed to your creative work…in spite of family, work, community. Note where your commitment is tested.

Focus, The Moon. A Major Arcana card, represents dreams, intuition, and emotions. This week, ask, “What are my dreams telling me? What is my intuition trying to convey to me about my creative work?”

Action, Page of Wands. Wands again, with its energetic associations of passion and vitality. The Page of Wands is the one who carries the passionate, active energy of youth. The Page is also the messenger. So this week, be a passionate, energetic, enthusiastic messenger for your creative work. Don’t be shy or falsely humble.

Gift, Knight of Cups. Cups is the element of Water in the realm of heart, emotions, dreams and intuition. So, in your Moon focus this week, also be aware of others in your environment who want to be of service to you and your creative work. Might be a critique partner, a gallery owner, and editor–someone who wants to help you get your work out into the world.

Categories Creativity, Tarot