Tarot Reading of the Week: 9/22/20 – 9/29/20

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

WARNING:  This is the part of my weekly post where I talk about some pop-psychological and tangentially metaphysical thing.  My belief is I’m not the only one noticing this and I wonder how it will affect the New Normal (™).  I am doing this in the hopes that it is useful for someone.  If you are not that someone, you are more than welcome to skip to the reading.  Please accept my humble apologies if you found this preachy.

Cognitive distortions are still on my mind this week, but you probably could’ve finished that sentence for me.  One of the subtler running themes of this blog is prediction.  That’s one of the reasons people get so into the tarot, because they like having an idea of what’s next.  People tend to like having at least one thing in their life that they can depend on, be right about, or see coming.  Even if the outcome validates your worst fear, having an expectation met—or exceeded—is pretty satisfying.  I’ve been thinking about the cognitive distortion of mind reading, but you knew that.

“But wait,” you wonder, “why would a tarot reader be against mind reading?”

Mind reading as a parlor trick or byproduct of your spirituality is awesome, but the cognitive distortion of mind reading kinda sucks.  Unless you want to turn the most cherished parts of your life into a self-sabotage minefield.  In which case, keep doing it.  

As the name implies, the cognitive distortion of mind reading means you believe—often wrongly—that you already know what the other person is thinking.  Mind reading is not only a display of bad manners and poor boundaries, but it is also a cognitive distortion because you are assuming a relationship between two things that may not actually exist.  Your presumption often persists for three reasons.  One, you never asked the other person what they were thinking or what their rationale was for behaving the way they did.  Two, you never bothered to look for or examine any evidence that didn’t support your belief.  Three, you have emotional agendas, prejudices, and hidden baggage that mean more to you than any objective evidence in this situation.

Mind reading looks way subtler than some eccentric fortune teller hovering their hands over a crystal ball for dramatic emphasis.  It might show up in your life as:

  • Always being proven right about certain people, which leads you to believe you just know what their motives are.
  • That scheming in-law who starts most of her sentences with, “I just know what you’re thinking…”
  • Your coworker arrives 10 minutes late to a meeting, then later tells you they just know everyone thinks they don’t take this job seriously.
  • Your new romantic main dish texts you a couple hours after they normally do.  You break up with them because you just know they’re cheating.
  • Political candidates faking ads because they just know you’re voting on blind emotion and won’t research it.
  • Pretty much anything the current administration has said about gun control, since they just know that you have never—and probably will never—research the history of the Second Amendment, what the current gun control bills are proposing, or what it would even take to repeal the Second Amendment.  (HInt: the Second Amendment was created so that private citizens could create a militia for the government, not Ammon Bundy-type stand offs.  Double Hint: there are bigger fish to fry than repealing an amendment.) 
  • Your roommate leaves their dishes in the sink for the millionth time this week.  You’re pissed.  Not because you’re tired of picking up after them, but because you just know they’re leaving their garbage around because they clearly don’t care about anyone else.

Notice a couple themes in these examples?  Mind reading involves believing you know what someone’s true beliefs and motives are, despite often ignoring available evidence.  This particular cognitive distortion is highly disrespectful because you are assuming that you are more capable and perceptive than the other person, which is about as opposite of the definition of respect that you can get.  Anyone using this cognitive distortion in your direction is automatically assuming you are less intelligent, compassionate, trustworthy, objective, competent, savvy, or just plain less than they are because they somehow know what you’re thinking or feeling more than you do.  If you recognize yourself in any of these examples, please stop because you’re ruining your relationships by being arrogant as fuck.  You’re also closing yourself off to learning new perspectives and/or developing the emotional maturity necessary for true self-improvement.  P.S. You are also potentially giving yourself astronomical levels of social anxiety.

If mind reading is something you don’t want following you into the New Normal (™), here is a free Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) workbook to get you started.  You can also try these journal questions:

  • What are three situations where you are likely to engage in mind reading?  For each situation, answer the following:
    • Who else was involved in this situation?  How do you normally feel about them?
    • What are three things you assume about this person?
    • What is at least one piece of evidence that makes your assumptions true?
    • What is at least one piece of evidence that makes your assumptions false?
    • What is at least one thing you assumed about them in this situation?
    • What did they say or do in this situation that led you to make the assumption you did?
    • What is at least one thing you were thinking in this situation?
    • What is at least one thing you were feeling in this situation?
    • How did you express your assumptions to the other person?  How did they react?
    • How do you think your assumptions about this person are affecting your relationship with them in a positive way?
    • How do you think your assumptions about this person are affecting your relationship in a negative way?
    • If you had the chance to redo this situation, would you make the same assumptions?  Why or why not?
  • What is a situation when mind reading worked in a positive way for you?  What about this situation made it positive?
  • What is a situation when mind reading worked in a negative way for you?  What about this situation made it negative?
  • What are three assumptions you usually make about others?  
  • Mind reading works off the assumption that you somehow know more about what the other person must be thinking or feeling than they do.  How did you assume that you knew more than they did in this situation?
  • What are three questions you can ask in order to challenge your assumptions?

When you’re done with thinking, you need to watch Seattle Chef Joe’s Facebook Videos.  Please check out his FB page here.  

As always, I have to mention the MindBody/Wellness Research and Science Network group on Facebook.  The chick who runs it takes an evidence-based approach to holistic topics.  I appreciate her common sense-meets-spirituality way of doing things.

Once again, I’m late with this reading due to some work-related chaos that I could not account for, plan around, or control.  Hopefully this is the last week of it, but I can’t promise anything.  Anyhoo, I found this video to be a soothing thing to ponder:

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, Onto the Reading, Shall We…?

NOTE:  Yes, I know that I’m almost a week late again.  I’m trying to minimize the impact of work-related chaos on my literary and tarot endeavors, but it’s been a challenge.  I’m sorry.

I asked the cards what we need to know about the week of 9/22/20 – 9/29/20 and I got:  The Hermit (number 9, self-sufficiency, inner guidance, seeking one’s own answers, solitude, time to go within, preparing for a major change, reviewing one’s journey and choices thus far, and learning about oneself); Four of Cups (number 4, apathy, more of the same, boredom, a relationship that has become stale, stagnation, and the need to change one’s routine); Ten of Swords (number 10, gossip, betrayal, backstabbing, slander, the end of a cycle of arguments, leaving a bad situation, and mental stress); and the Hanged Man (number 12, suspended animation, wait and see, the need to surrender a part of oneself that is no longer useful, the need to look at something differently, the need for patience and tolerance, recognizing negative patterns, and the need to let go).  Huh.  This is the third week in a row that we have encountered 9 energy.  For you numerology types, 9 energy is about striking a balance between makin’ moves and acceptance.  This energy is about change and transcendence, while understanding the lesson up till now.  The Hermit—which embodies the aspect of 9 energy that requires stillness and going within—is my first clue that we are dealing with preparing for an ending that needs to happen.  The Hermit is a card of withdrawal, of taking a step back and evaluating the evidence.  I feel like approaching your week in this way will give you the best results, as the Hanged Man also suggests a lesson at play.  If you don’t consciously decide to take an observer’s role this week, I feel like the next two cards—the Four of Cups and the Ten of Swords—are suggesting an event that forces you to do so.  The Four of Cups is a card of apathy, of a situation that’s boring and/or no longer working for you.  Bored, dissatisfied people tend to be lethargic and negative, but possibly comfortable wallowing in their own dirty diaper.  They act shitty not only to express their boredom, but also because they’re secure enough to know that nobody will call them on their nonsense.  The Ten of Swords enhances the garbage vibes, as it is a card of betrayal and gossip.  It is also a card of mental stress and deciding enough is enough.  I feel like the Four and Ten together create an a-ha moment, when either you or the other person involved decide to pull the plug.  I don’t feel like anything that happens this week will be out of the ordinary, but you will be different.  You’re just ready for the next chapter to start is all.  I feel like both parties involved are ready for something different, but have become too comfortable to do anything about it.  Whatever division that happens will end up being a welcome relief, but maybe not right away.  The Hanged Man further underscores the feeling of being stuck.  Like the Ten of Swords, though, the Hanged Man suggests a separation is imminent.  The trick to the Hanged Man is being prepared to sacrifice something.  This could mean being the first person involved to speak up or walk away, but it will definitely require that you change something about your thoughts and behavior patterns.  This requires that you acknowledge your part in why the situation wasn’t working.  You need to own what you did wrong.  I don’t think anyone else involved will think about their part in events, but you need to evaluate your own behavior so that you can move on with a clean slate.  In case you need a soundtrack, try this song:

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest relationship articleHe’s coming back next month, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

High Infidelity: Marshall Delaware and Spicevicious Tackle the Question, “Are They Cheating on Me?”

With Super Special Guest, Marshall Delaware

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

Spice Asks, “Are They a Jerk or Is The Universe Out to Get You?”

Back in the halcyon days when I started on Keen.com—2001, to be exact—I noticed most of the reader profiles targeted women at a crossroads in their relationships.  It wasn’t exactly a revelation, if you think about it.  I found Keen.com because grief, childhood issues, a cluster of identity crises, and some fucked up relationship issues collided.  I also noticed I wasn’t as popular as some readers not only because my schedule was so all-over-the-place, but also because I was perhaps a little too honest.  

A little too honest” was also sometimes code for seriously unchecked transference issues”.  It’s cringy and humiliating to admit that I was spraying my psychological sewage all over others’ situations, but I want you to understand that ALL PSYCHIC READERS are human beings with unconscious emotional issues.  It doesn’t make them bad or frauds—many people come out of horrible situations with greater empathy and wisdom—but it does mean you need to think critically about any spiritual data you get.  Yes, this also applies to spiritual info given by “mainstream” religious figures and doctrines, yoga gurus, and mental health experts too.

But back to the lecture at hand…

Those Keen.com profiles targeted women having cis, hetero relationship problems because nothing stabs at the very core of your being like possible infidelity.   Not knowing whether that person you let into your heart is only in there to drain it dry fucking sucks.  But here’s the thing: I got a lot of calls from men, people who identify as gender fluid, women who were into women, et al asking if their relationships were on the up-and-up.  Wanna know why?  Because being a duplicitous asshole isn’t exclusive to just one gender or sexual orientation.  You just get more women calling psychics is all.  Not only are men less likely to want to process their partner’s possible infidelity with a stranger, but also younger generations are closing that gender gap.  

Please understand that while my advice seems a little harsh, I totally get how painful and disorienting questions of infidelity can be.  I also understand that the only way to weather the storm is to get yourself in a position where you can make the best possible decisions for you and your future.  This means:

  • Acknowledging your feelings without getting swallowed whole by them.
  • Giving yourself time and space before you react (i.e. drunk text, cyberstalk, translate your most visceral emotions into text, drive by their house, etc.).
  • Giving yourself time before deciding to continue or restart a relationship that may have been toxic for you.
  • Evaluating the evidence before deciding what you want to do with the relationship.
  • Preparing to say what you mean and mean what you say when you finally do address this.
  • Figuring out whether the two of you can work through this debacle and use it as a way to strengthen your relationship.

Before you think you need to start collecting cats or join the Peace Corps to avoid the dating game, it may help to know why people cheat.  Here are some of the woo-woo and earthly reasons I’ve noticed why people stray:

  • Karma.  I know I sound like a broken record with this karmic relationship stuff, but sometimes it really is your karma or theirs that makes them cheat.  It could be that you were the cheater in a past life.  Maybe you caused them pain or broke a promise in another way during that lifetime—or over multiple lifetimes—and this infidelity was their soul’s way of breaking ties.  Or their Higher Self needed them to be the cheater during this lifetime in order to make them–or you–better people down the road.  
  • A wake up call.  Spiritually speaking, nothing can get you to shit or get off the pot like the outhouse exploding.  Getting drenched in break up diarrhea is one of those KABOOM-type events.  This is related to the karma reason because it involves metaphysical chess, but it may not have been premeditated.  Maybe you were on a comfortable path, but that doesn’t make it the best one for you.  Perhaps you wouldn’t have seen it if you spent forever and ever with the cheater.
  • Spiritual interference.  I don’t like talking about this one because it is relatively rare, but it does happen.  The thing about someone using spells or other occult stuff to mess with your relationship is it is a real bitch to prove.  I’ll have to do a little research to give you the best advice on this one, but I would suggest a good protection spell that does not name a specific target.  Just use “anyone who would harm, exploit, manipulate, undermine, steal from, or discredit me or my relationships; intentionally or unintentionally, by thought, by emotion, by action, or by energy” when you do the spell.  I’ve got some good ones for this, believe me.  But this is a different post altogether…
  • Self-sabotage as self-protection.  Some people hate conflict and will avoid uncomfortable conversations at all costs.  The emotional and mental gymnastics involved in them running from a confrontation kinda looks like what would happen if Cirque du Soleil choreographed a show about angry cats avoiding baths.  Sometimes this avoidance looks like self-sabotage.  Think of it like a relationship suicide bomb because they’re basically using anything they can find to blow up this relationship, even if that means blowing themselves up with it.  And what can decimate your relationships quite like cheating?
  • Relationship boredom.  Most relationships hit a phase where things aren’t as new and exciting as they were.  It might take days, weeks, months, or years.  Sometimes the familiarity is appealing, other times, not so much.  Sometimes the familiarity is just there to cover deeper issues that one or both parties want to avoid, like power struggles, personality differences, or toxic behavior.  Whatever the case, there are people that don’t handle familiarity and routine that well.  Anyone ever owned a border collie?  They have a wacky perpetual herding, chase-the-ball thing happening.  These dogs are a little too smart for their own good and can get mischievous when bored.  Sometimes cheating is the human version of that.
  • They suck.  This one’s pretty self-explanatory.  Some people cheat because they are fucking selfish and out for immediate gratification.
  • They checked out of the relationship, but didn’t want to hurt you.  This one combines selfishness, avoidance, feeling out of place, and a ton of anxiety.  Cheating is just one way to get you to make their decision for them.
  • You were never on the same page.  Maybe this one boils down to radically different communication styles, cultural barriers, or a shitload of denial.  Whatever the case, being out of sync with your partner feels like a song that’s just barely off key or watching a dance where one of the dancers is about a half step behind the others.  Maybe your partner felt it too.

Whatever the case, they are the one that chose to handle their feelings this way.  They are the ones that closed themselves off to you and opened themselves up to other possibilities.  No matter how you contributed to the situation, you never put a gun to their head and told them to cheat.  

And that’s just one of many things about infidelity that hurts like a bitch.

But Are They Cheating, Though?

Irrefutable proof of infidelity is hard to procure.  Unless you walked in on it, somehow got the pictures, have a confession, or some other piece of tangible evidence, all you have is a gut feeling.  Here’s the deal about gut feelings: your mind will try to screw with you ten ways to Sunday, but your gut is never wrong.  The only problem with gut feelings is they only know something is wrong.  They don’t necessarily tell us what that something is.

I think feeling insecure about your partner is a warning that you need to take a look at something in your relationship.  Let’s expound on the old “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” adage for a second.  Say you come upon a rager of a fire that’s savagely roaring through everything you hold dear.  I’ve been around enough physical and metaphorical fire to tell you that knowing how the fire started will tell you how you need to extinguish it.  Pyros, fire fighters, and really bad cooks will tell you that you deal with an electrical fire differently than a grease fire or a smudge stick ritual gone wrong.  How can you tell what started the fire and what type of fire you have on your hands?

By controlling the blaze and examining the evidence, of course.

The nagging feeling that all is not right in your relationship is much the same way.  Do you have a wildfire of an affair on your hands, or merely a partner who needs a little space?  Here’s a quick list of situations that might be setting off your intuitive fire alarm:

  • They seem more distant.  This one has a few reasons.  Maybe they are scared of screwing up another relationship.  Maybe it was something you said and they don’t know how to approach you.  Maybe they feel like they need to pull back in order to focus on their wants, needs, and goals.  
  • They’re having an emotional affair.  Do they seem a little distracted, or are they especially protective of their phone?  Or maybe they’re mentioning a new friend just a liiiitttttttlllleeee too much.  Although they might not be doing the horizontal mambo, these signs might be worth a conversation or two.  People usually have emotional affairs because they’re flattered by someone else’s attention, their partner has started taking them for granted, they feel lonely in the relationship, they’re bored or disconnected in the relationship, or any combo of these things.
  • They’re at the “just talking” stage.  Oh goody.  Another gray area affair.  This category takes the emotional affair a step further, though, because it’s more intentional.  Unlike the emotional affair, people in the “just talking” stage tend to know they’re doing it.  They just have a ton of plausible deniability about where these “conversations” might lead because they’re…  “just talking.”  This one can be totally nipped in the bud, but it’s still a major head fuck for everyone considered.
  • They have a “school husband/wife” or “work husband/wife.”  The quick definition of a work spouse is a coworker with whom you have a great deal of affection and rapport.  The level of trust, appreciation, and understanding between you makes you look forward to coming to work and makes the day go a lot faster.  Having a work spouse may increase job satisfaction, but it’s still a blurry boundary that can easily be taken too far.  
  • You found suggestive profiles, messages, or pictures.  There really aren’t too many logical reasons for this one.

So what should you do with these burning gut feelings?  I’ll get to that, but first, I’d like you to…

IS HE CHEATING ON ME OR AM I JUST HARSHING HIS BUZZ? MARSHALL DELAWARE PLUGS HIS NOSE AND DELVES INTO THE REALITY OF MODERN INFIDELITY FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT AND ENLIGHTENMENT.

Helllllllooooooooooooo, ladies. I know, it seems like I’ve been procrastinating on the old prognosticating but I really have no good excuse to give you so how about we just non-confrontationally slide into this timely topic and see if you are indeed the victim of a two-faced, double-dealing, fork-tongued fornicator.

  • Knight of Cups
  • Queen of Pentacles
  • 10 of Wands
  • The Hierophant
  • Queen of Cups

Okay, whenever I encounter a good news/bad news sitch, I always want to hear the bad news first because I love stories with happy endings, so let’s get the negativity out of the way first. Your dude harbours an idealistic conception of what love and commitment looks like and you’re not holding up your end of the bargain as you strut-bounce down the street screaming the lyrics to “WAP” because you’ve decided that that song is going to be your philosophical cornerstone to dealing with your man, and relationships in general. Oh well, I guess it’s a step up from whatever Billie Eilish is singing about. At least you don’t seem so fucking gloomy anymore as you longingly gaze at the kitchen knives while wondering if today is a good day to go out like a Roman, and if so is it mandatory that you wear the mask while slicing open your Brachial Artery as a courtesy to the medical examiner that finds your corpse?

Since I’m old enough to be his dad, I’ve been saying long before Da Anti Flip Lord, Pierre XO, graced us with His Interdimensional Presence, that the pendulum always swings the other way. Women wanted guys to stop focusing on the superficial/anatomical aspects and place a greater emphasis on things to do with character and personality, and guess what, they are. Guys are finally starting to clue in that between da bangs ya gotta hang, and hanging means conversing, engaging in some sort of positive and meaningful dialogues that induce an omnipresent sense of emotional intimacy, y’know pair bonding. It’s a little difficult to do that with a broad who thinks that 80% of the dudes on Tinder and Plenty of Fish are below average. It’s a bit of a slog for the dude in question to take you seriously when you can’t put away your fucking smart phone on a date and actually make an effort to make the dude feel like he matters, not with your body, just with your undivided attention in public places. It’s not enough to shag the bloke, or to vomit up some pithy love bomb on your Instagram, you have to actually do the quiet things too, like fucking listen to him. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with him, it just means you have to make a consistent effort to take him seriously. Because if you don’t, he won’t hesitate to abandon ship and cast his bread upon the waters once again.

Okay, that’s the bad news. The good news is, no he’s not cheating on you. For a dude cheating isn’t as easy as it looks. He can’t just show up at the nightclub, or the coffee shop, or anywhere really, throw up his red light, and then casually assess his options as da bitches flock to him. Even high status, seriously successful men have to work the hustle if they want to slide on into the holiest of holies, once again. They have to initiate. They have to work their best game and even those dudes strike out way more often that they’re willing to admit.

For a regular bloke it’s more morally acceptable to him to just give it his best effort in a monogamous sitch and when that well runs dry again, he can just leave without being told that he’s some kind of a lying cad. As long as he can say, “I tried but she just wasn’t that into me.”, then he can wank off and go to sleep feeling guilt-free without ever having to hear that Cardi B song ever again.

So yeah, that’s what I’m seeing here. The fear of infidelity is something that you can alleviate fairly easily, and it doesn’t involve you having to do anything degrading or borderline illegal. Just focus on your guy on a regular basis and practice active listening. Who knows, you might even find him interesting. Interesting enough to seriously commit to.

So yeah, that’s all I have to say about that. This is Marshall Delaware once again saying do the best that you can to be the best that you can. Seeya.

Spice Throws Out a Couple Things to Ponder

I once asked a good friend what her definition of Hell was.  She responded, “Having to show up naked for a tax audit, then finding out the auditor has Michael Bolton’s greatest hits playing in a continuous loop.  Oh, and the office door is locked from the outside.”

Uncomfortable, yes, but anyone who has dealt with a potential relationship security breach can tell you it gets worse.  Way, way worse.  To put it in Matrix terms, you can either take the blue pill or the red pill on this one.  The blue pill involves you completely ignoring your nagging feelings, even overcompensating for them by trying to be perfect.  The blue pill means you pretend that nothing is wrong and your relationship is candy-coated, rose-colored, obnoxiously happy #relationshipgoals.  The blue pill might mean you stuff down your darker feelings with food, gag your tears before they flow, and pour yourself into your relationship.  This sort of thing means you might have to post about your happiness on social media EVERY. FIVE. FUCKING. MINUTES.  It’s a recipe for the type of emotional burnout that only codependence and delusion can bring, but at least it’s misery that you know.

The red pill involves a lot more honesty and a willingness to get your metaphorical hands dirty.  Like, Lady MacBeth’s hands dirty.

Before we plunge our digits into the gore, I need to issue a disclaimer.  WARNING:  Love advice from Spicevicious tends to contain a high concentration of Resting Bitch Face (RBF).  Coming into contact with RBF is not advisable if you have an allergy to dry humor, sarcasm, and relatively large doses of truth. 

Stop Clutching Your Pearls and Pop The Red Pill Already

In order to successfully choke down the red pill, please remind yourself that the truth doesn’t care about what’s easier for you.  The truth is a honey badger.  It doesn’t give a shit.  This means YOU need to give a shit about you.  You know that fun buzzword self-care?  The one that basically got shoved down our throats during the quarantine?  Yeah, well, it means a little more than planting a garden when you’re dealing with questions surrounding infidelity.  It means getting real about what is best for you and your life.  This might look like:

  • Re-examining your boundaries.
  • Making a pro and con list of this relationship.
  • Getting real about your insecurities.
  • Making a list of things you want in a relationship.  Does your relationship meet your needs?
  • Deleting the meaner, more knee-jerk texts and emails you want to send.  It’s not helping.  Trust me on that.
  • NOT STALKING YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER.  Put them on a 30 day social media block if you must.  Find something else to do during the times you typically text or call them.  Channel your energy into this 30 day squat challenge so you can look good as you peace out, if that’s what you decide to do.
  • Developing a routine for yourself.

Now ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why do you think they’re cheating?
  • Can you continue the relationship if you find out that they’re not cheating?
  • What are you prepared to do if you find out they are cheating?
  • What are you prepared to do if you believe they are cheating, but they deny it?

Getting honest with that first question of why will help you figure out the answers to the other three questions.  Let’s tackle the first question, shall we…?

Why do you think they’re cheating?  My years of reading the tarot, watching friends go through hell, and being on both ends of this hell myself have taught me the “are they or aren’t they?” seed gets planted for a million combinations of the two reasons:

  1. You have evidence or observations that point to infidelity.
  2. Your insecurities are seriously fucking with you.

I feel like this Psychology Today article breaks down the 10 most common signs someone is cheating rather well.  It also plays into conventional wisdom, which states, “If you feel something is rotten in your relationship, it probably is.”  

Fair enough.  Let me just add a couple tweaks to that statement with a wee analogy.

Imagine you come home one day and something smells fucking awful.  Never have you smelled such a repugnant combination of rotting flesh being farted out a zombie’s ass, mixed with distinct top notes of an unbathed, hung over frat boy—sssnnniiiffffff!!!—and wet dog.  On the verge of throwing up your lunch, you fling open the windows.  You flip on all the fans.  You open the front door.  But the smell just gets stronger.  

It doesn’t matter what is causing the stench.  You cannot live this way.  Buuuttt it’s easier to work around the smell than to completely uproot every object in your house.  You decide to take the blue pill and scrub every visible surface, but leave the stuff you can’t see alone.

The smell only gets stronger.

As the stench continues to sear your eyeballs, your imagination runs amok.  What if there’s a body under your floorboards?  But I’m the only one who lives here.  Maybe someone planted it there.  Why wouldn’t they toss it in the lake?  Okay, you’re right.  It was circus clowns and giant spiders…  *sigh*  Sure…  I am NOT opening that can of worms.

Meanwhile, the blue pill solution does what it does best—keeps you comfortable until it blows up in your face.  The smell keeps you up at night and covers your food, your bed, and your clothes.  It blows through your heater and air conditioner.  Your friends and family start associating you with the stench.  They start pulling away until you are only left with the smell.

And then your house starts rotting.  It starts with a few mold spots here and there.  No matter how much you scrub them, the spots spread.  The mold covers more and more of your house until you notice soft spots and holes in the walls.

One day, after your house has disintegrated to the foundation, you notice the carcasses of a family of stray cats behind the water heater.  No evil clowns.  No serial killer neighbors.  Just something you could have easily taken care of as soon as you noticed a problem.

See where I’m going there?

Noticing something is wrong can quickly spiral out of control if you don’t deal with the insecurities underlying it.  Doing anything less—i.e. pushing down your feelings or only focusing on the surface-level parts of the situation—will only destroy you, which will only fuck you over no matter what happens with the relationship.

I humbly propose you do a couple things:

  • Separate the evidence from what you think it means, or want it to mean.  This means releasing judgment and the need to connect the dots from your receipts.  I really liked these tips to becoming less judgmental.  Here are the usable bits:
    • Practice nonjudgmental communication by removing words like “good,” “bad,” “always,” “never,” “right,” “wrong,” or anything that makes a situation black or white when talking about your evidence.
    • Don’t assume you know why or how something happened.  All you have right now is what and when.
    • Judgment is about self-protection and fear, so check out a good compassion meditation like this one or this one.  The more you release your fears and insecurities, the more you will be able to separate bullshit from the truth when your significant other bothers to explain themselves.
  • Acknowledge possible alternative explanations to each piece of evidence.  Like I said, all you have in this situation is what and when.  Hopefully the house analogy showed you how much an incorrect why can mess with you.
  • Have an honest talk with yourself about your insecurities and where they come from.  Go back to your compassion meditation or do this Anubis spell to feel less lost and ask yourself these questions as part of your intention:
    • When was the first time I felt this way?  Who else was involved?  What did they do?  How did I react?
    • What were some thoughts I had about myself after this happened?  
    • How did I feel about myself after this happened?
    • What did I tell myself about myself after this situation?  Am I still repeating these messages?  
    • What were some thoughts I had about others after this happened?
    • How did I feel about others after this happened?
    • What did I tell myself about others after this situation?  Am I still repeating these messages?
  • Have an honest talk with yourself about any other reasons you may have to accuse them.  Maybe you’re accusing your significant other of cheating to take the focus off some thoughts or urges you’re having.  Projection is a pretty common defense mechanism when we don’t want to own stuff that makes us feel ashamed, guilty, gross, or just plain crazy.  Look at your evidence objectively.  If your smoking gun is barely lukewarm, methinks you may protest too much.  Before you emotionally batter an innocent partner with infidelity accusations, ask yourself this:
    • Have YOU been thinking of cheating?
    • Are you bored in this relationship?
    • Have you been looking for a way out, but don’t want to be the bad guy?
    • Do you have a pattern of sabotaging your relationships?
    • Do you feel like you deserve this relationship?
    • Are you trying to leave them before they leave you?

Now you have your receipts in one hand, and both pills in the other.  None of the questions I posed to you are easy.  I honestly wish they were.  But then again, ignoring the warning signs ain’t no cake walk either.  I’m not a guru or anyone special.  I’ve just flipped enough cards and done enough observing to know that asking yourself these questions sooner, rather than later can save you a ton of pain in the long run.  Questions of fidelity and trust never go away quietly.  It’s just a question of how long you’re willing to keep them on mute.

P.S. Any of the spells I’ve posted on this blog can be easily tailored so you can:

P.P.S.  If you want to know more about your relationship quandary, please hit up Marshall Delaware for a reading.  You can email him at ggm92666@yahoo.ca  I guarantee zany hijinks and enlightenment will ensue.

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast displaced thousands of innocent pets.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest political collab. He’s coming back in the near future to tackle another current events conundrum, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

Tarot Reading of the Week: 9/10/20 – 9/17/20 and 9/15/20 – 9/22/20

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

WARNING:  This is the part of my weekly post where I talk about some pop-psychological and tangentially metaphysical thing.  My belief is I’m not the only one noticing this and I wonder how it will affect the New Normal (™).  I am doing this in the hopes that it is useful for someone.  If you are not that someone, you are more than welcome to skip to the reading.  Please accept my humble apologies if you found this preachy.

Cognitive distortions are still on my mind, as are politics and social media being a fucking cesspool.  For those who are new to the Spice is Right party, cognitive distortions are the result of your mind making two connections between two things that aren’t related.  For example, you wake up one morning and you find that your goldfish died.  Then your mom tells you that your aunt died.  A possible cognitive distortion is you believing that your aunt is a goldfish due to these two events.  (Note: if you have made such an error in real life, I’m not making fun of you and you have my sincere condolences.)  This is a silly example on paper, but political posts on social media are ripe with examples of cognitive distortions.  The problem here is these distortions have the power to bring relationship issues to the surface, alienate people from each other, create a shitload of self-sabotage, and make you look like a royal ass.

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, I had a feeling this past week should be sponsored by the cognitive distortion of mental filter.  Mental filter involves filtering out any part of another person’s perspective that’s positive—or somehow makes your position look incorrect—only to focus on the negative.  Fun Fact: Mental Filter is a cognitive distortion that researchers have associated with panic disorder and increased depression.  Here are some examples of mental filter that you might encounter in your daily life:

  • You get your performance review at work.  It’s positive enough to help you keep your job for another year and maybe even get you a modest merit increase, buuuttt your boss says the way you write your notes could use improvement.  The rest of your day is ruined.
  • You love your partner and try to be your best for them.  You cook them a great meal, but they choose to focus on the pile of dishes in the sink.  Somehow the hours you spent finding the perfect recipe, the best ingredients, and lovingly executing each step seems smaller somehow.
  • It’s your first time hosting for the holidays and you want to get everything just right.  You start planning five months—almost half a year—in advance.  You clean the house till you can eat off the floors.  You start prep cooking the week before the holiday.  Perfect handmade decorations?  Check.  The day comes and everything goes right, except for one eensy little bitty spot on Grandma’s heirloom silver ladle.  Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, but guess what you choose to focus on?  Stupid ladle…
  • Your Trump-loving cousin posts some unfact-checked Facebook post that asks, “Why do guns have to be registered, but immigrants can be here illegally?”  Against your better judgment, you point out the logical fallacies of that statement (i.e. there’s no magical list of people here illegally, people overstaying their visas isn’t the same thing as buying a black market weapon, the human trafficking part of this issue is deeper than mere immigration, and many states actually don’t have a gun registry).  Your cousin, bless their heart, responds with, “So you admit the government lets immigrants come here illegally!  Commie!!”
  • Your super liberal niece churns out a pseudo think piece in her Millennial pink iPhone.  The post declares, “Melania Trump totally literally rips out all of the roses planted by former First Ladies!!!”  When you point out Ellen Wilson’s original roses are long gone and Jackie Kennedy’s crab apple trees were ruined by poor lawn drainage anyway, she. CAN’T. EVEN.  She responds, “So you think it’s okay for this glorified hooker to rip out other people’s plants?!”

Notice a couple things about all of these examples?  They all involve deciding to focus your tunnel vision on the negative, despite evidence that things might be a little more nuanced—even positive—than your narrow view.  Like all cognitive distortions, mental filter is a defensive reaction designed to block out anything that negates a viewpoint or part of your identity.  If you think that your mental filters need to be cleaned, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When are three situations that you catch yourself using mental filter?  For each situation, ask yourself:
    • What about the situation made me feel threatened, defensive, or annoyed?
    • When was the first time I can remember feeling like that about a situation?  What happened?
    • Was there any part of this situation that made me feel like I could be humiliated, mocked, or shamed?  What was it?
    • When was the first time I can remember feeling like I was humiliated, mocked, or shamed?  What about this situation reminds me of that time?
    • What about this most recent situation is the same as the first times I felt this  way?
    • What about this most recent situation is different than the times I first felt this way?
    • What was positive about using mental filter in this situation?
    • How did using mental filter in this situation hurt me?
    • How did using mental filter in this situation hurt the other person
    • How do you wish you had responded in this situation? 
  • Who else is involved in these situations?
  • What do all of these situations have in common?
  • What is different about each of these situations?
  • What is one thing you find yourself thinking when you use mental filter?
  • What is one thing you find yourself feeling when you use mental filter?
  • Looking at all of your answers, do you think using mental filter is more positive or negative?  Why?

When you’re done with thinking, you need to watch Seattle Chef Joe’s Facebook Videos.  Please check out his FB page here.  

As always, I have to mention the MindBody/Wellness Research and Science Network group on Facebook.  The chick who runs it takes an evidence-based approach to holistic topics.  I appreciate her common sense-meets-spirituality way of doing things.

And I need to give a shout out to this yoga video:

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, Onto the Reading, Shall We…?

NOTE:  I realize that I’m almost a week late with this reading and I’m sorry.  Any excuse I could give you could be refuted with me just needing to plan for chaos better.  I can’t even say that I won’t do it again because I’ve got a ton of schedule changes coming up and that appears to be my achilles heel.  Again, I’m sorry.

I asked the cards what we need to know about the week of 9/10/20 – 9/17/20 and I got:  The Emperor (number 4, the need for self-discipline, issues with authority figures, “daddy issues,” the need for discipline in some area of life, a warning not to be too rigid in one’s approach, and the need to take charge of one’s life); Six of Pentacles (number 6, giving and receiving help, favors or unexpected help with no strings attached, sharing, donations, and a karmic undertone of reaping what one sows); Seven of Wands (number 7, about to reap the reward for one’s effort, the need to make a stand when challenged, handling difficulties and obstacles, and not letting others take advantage of one); and Nine of Swords (number 9, temporary sadness, depression, mental stress, hopelessness, the need to allow time to heal wounds, the need for a clear head in a difficult situation, and possibly inner wisdom).  Yikes.  There are a couple themes at play here and neither of them are particularly fun or pleasant.  First, we have a simmering power struggle, which is shown by the Emperor and the Seven of Wands.  The Emperor and the Seven are all about control and defensiveness.  The Emperor is a discipline card on a couple levels.  On the surface, this card means authority and the things that keep you in line (i.e. family structure and dysfunction, possibly abuse, and whomever signs your checks).  The deeper meaning of the Emperor is to keep yourself in line, whether that means sticking to a fitness routine, not spending your life’s savings on a motorcycle, doing your best at a job you hate, or not becoming too rigid.  The Seven of Wands underscores the theme of authority and a challenge to your schema because it is a card of needing to stand up for oneself.  The Seven is also a card of being rewarded for one’s efforts.  This tells me this last week was one where someone in authority threw you a major curveball.  Your mission was to not only navigate the obstacle, but keep your identity and routine—not to mention your temper—intact as you did so.  The Six of Pentacles sandwiched between these two challenging cards tells me a certain amount of compromise is needed this week to get something greater down the line, even if that something greater is only leverage.  In fact, I feel like the most likely reward for your sacrifice will be a bargaining chip you can use when you need something.  I feel like the Emperor signifies both you and an authority figure this week.  The message to you is to keep acting with integrity, no matter how shitty, unprofessional, immature, or just petty the people around you are.  Don’t stoop to their level because you have more to lose than they do.  The message about authority is a little darker.  If you have had the feeling that someone in authority—a boss, a parent, a teacher, a lead, et al—has been messing with you because they can, you’re 100% right.  This person loves to pull strings and saw a way to do it.  Their actions feel a little personal to me.  However, it doesn’t matter if you are the puppet master or the puppet this week because you will definitely get back whatever you put into the situation, which is the second theme of this spread.  The Six of Pentacles and Seven of Wands both have a karmic element to them.  My gut feeling is the karma for this particular situation will come back around by the end of the year, rather than lifetimes from now.  The Nine of Swords tells me this week ends with a feeling of exhaustion and disappointment, probably in yourself.  All you can really do is take stock of how you handled things and make an action plan as to how you’ll do better.  Don’t make excuses.  Don’t blame others, even though I really think there was some manipulation from the authority figure in question.  Just clear your schedule for a day or two, clear your mind, and figure out how to do things differently.  

But That was Last Week…

I asked the cards what we need to know about the week of 9/15/20 – 9/22/20 and I got:  Nine of Pentacles (number 9, self-sufficiency, inner and outer wealth, a reward that has been a long time coming, a bonus or recognition for hard work, messages, and enjoying the fruits of one’s labor); Princess of Wands (young fire sign person, an energetic young person, creative inspiration, possibly pregnancy, and new projects and ventures); Five of Wands (number 5, competition, jealousy, the need to defend oneself, a challenging time at work, having one’s opinions and convictions questioned, and the need to prove one’s point); and Judgment (number 20, seeing oneself in a new light, an inevitable change, liberation, the need to change one’s habits and ways of thinking, seeing the bigger picture, the end of a cycle, and confidence to make a decision).  Not to make excuses for myself, but my inability to handle the chaos of last week had an upside.  Notice any themes from last week’s spread to this week’s?  You probably will by the time we’re done.  The first thing that jumps out is last week’s spread ends with the Nine of Swords, whereas this week’s begins with the Nine of Pentacles.  The Nine of Swords is a card of exhaustion, discouragement, stress, and depression.  The Nine of Pentacles is a “good news” card that shows you can sit back and reap the rewards for your hard work.  In numerology, nine energy is transcendent.  These cards demonstrate this because I feel like the Nine of Pentacles in this spread tells me you can—and probably will—turn a negative into a positive.  You will be recognized this week for not acting like a procrastinating, sarcastic, and passive-aggressive ass hat last week.  The energy also has an “I told you so” feel to it.  It’s like you had your doubts about someone’s character, kept it to yourself, and now they’re showing their true colors.  Don’t gloat too hard because Judgment shows me you are going to get validation about a situation you are in the process of walking away from, which usually means you are going to be inconvenienced or offended somehow.  Judgment is the last card and nine energy is all about cycles completing, so whatever this offensive obstacle is feels like a final nail in the coffin.  Anyway, the Princess of Wands is sandwiched between the Nine of Pentacles and the Five of Wands.  So we have a week that starts with turning a negative into a positive, which probably frees up a decent amount of mental and emotional energy.  I feel like you or someone around you will be high energy and creative this week, but the Five of Wands shows me someone will want to piss in your Cheerios.  This energy feels like the high school mean girl who isn’t in the headspace to handle overly caffeinated cheerleaders and breathy drama nerds, so she bullies them.  The Five of Wands suuuuuuuccckkksss because it is a card of jealousy and competition.  Ever heard the phrase “light attracts bugs”?  If you express your enthusiasm or try to implement your great ideas, expect at least one person to come out of the woodwork as a shit-talker, copycat, or most likely both.  If you’re not the person with the enthusiastic creativity, expect to feel a little triggered by someone else’s bubbly optimism.  Please don’t be the mean girl in this situation.  The larger picture is a karmic one.  Judgment tells me you are in the process of walking away from something because that’s what is supposed to happen.  You are being steered away from a job or group of people because it is a dead end.  In order to do that, you need to be shown how you really feel about the situation, others’ jealousy and mind games, or a little of both.  By the end of this week, you will either feel validated in your decision to walk away from something or you will see that you need to start the separation process.  

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

Those wildfires on the West Coast are displacing innocent pets. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) wants to help.  If you would like to help the pets affected by the wildfires, please click here.  Also, the American Humane Society is looking for donations for these pets.  You can donate here.

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest political collab He’s coming back at some point in September, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

At the Crossroads: Hecate Spell for Protection and Guidance 9/9/20

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

Murder hornets!  Protests!  Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter!  When Karens attack!  Cancel culture!  And a certain virus…

20-FUCKING-20, ammirite?

I don’t have to say much more than that as we begin our last fiscal quarter of a memorable year.  But wait, there’s more.  Of fucking course the stars have a little something up their cosmic sleeves.  Two somethings, actually.  They are Mars going retrograde in the sign of Aries 9/9/20 and your North node being in chatty, crazy Gemini until 2022.  Here’s the quick scoop on both of these happenings:

  • Mars Retrograde in Aries:  As the name implies, this is a period of time where Mars orbits backwards.  It’s not as talked-about as Mercury retrograde, but you may want to take note all the same.  Any planet going retrograde means you are entering a time when you will need to backtrack, review choices you made, adjust your listening-to-speaking ratio, and maybe do some strategic planning.  Mars going retrograde in its home sign of Aries is a big deal because that only magnifies the effects of the retrograde.  Get ready for some intensity until Mars goes direct November 13, 2020.  If you want a little more intel on how Mars retrograde will affect your sign, this article breaks it down well.  The basic effects of Mars going into Aries are:
    • The need to take action.  You will be put into situations where a quick decision needs to be made.
    • You will get the impetus to act on your true desires.
    • You will be impatient with fluff, filler, gossip, and chit chat.  No tea for you, thanks.
    • You may become more self-conscious or aware of your strengths and flaws.
    • You will either become stronger in your identity or may decide to get a new one.
    • You may go on somewhat of a “hero’s journey”—self-discovery via being presented with a major challenge—during this time.
    • You may get more acquainted with your dark side.  Hello, me.  Meet the real me.
  • Your North Node in Gemini till 2022:  Lunar Nodes are mathematical points, rather than actual planets or asteroids.  Nodes are slow-moving and always, always, always in retrograde.  They stay in each sign for about a year and a half.  Lunar Nodes show up in your chart to signify important or “fated” events, where whatever choice you make will strongly influence the direction of your life.  Astrologers use the analogy of a dragon to describe Lunar Nodes, with the North Node being the head and the South Node representing the tail.  This particular nodal “dragon” has its head (North) in Gemini with its tail (South) in Sagittarius.  The impact is going to be a little different for each sign and you can read about that in this article.  The general themes of this karmic pivot point are going to be:
    • Truthful communication.  You may find yourself speaking from the heart more, or maybe cutting the fake people out of your life.  
    • You may find yourself fact-checking, reading nutrition labels, or just researching major purchases more.
    • While chit chat and bullshit are going to grate on your last damn nerve, you might find yourself being more neighborly.  This means you will re-evaluate the way you treat people.
    • Your boundaries and priorities may change.
    • You might explore what sustainability means to you and what you can do to help.
    • Your choices will push things not in alignment with them out of your life.  Expect certain people, places, and situations from your life to—POOF!!—be gone.
    • If you have a book in you, now might be the time you write it.
    • This is a good time to go back to school.
    • You will question what your culture, religion, family, occupation, etc. expects from you.  
    • You may want to change your life to bring you more adventure and freedom in the future.  This might mean financial planning or making major career moves.

It’s a wee bit to digest.  However, whether 20-fucking-20 becomes a shit stain on your best pair of emotional underwear or something you can upcycle depends on how you deal with this crossroads.

Enter Hecate

Hecate shows up in Greek and Roman literature as an Earth goddess.  She governs manifestation, magic, and being at a crossroads.  Although many people mistake Hecate for the Celtic triple goddess—aka Maiden, Mother, Crone—because she is pictured in triplicate, Hecate deals more with magic, transformation, and keeping away evil spirits.  Hecate is usually depicted as three goddesses standing back-to-back, signifying her ability to watch from all angles at once.  This comes in handy when you’re trying to make a tough decision or have already made a decision, but you want a plan of attack.

Legend has it that Hecate witnessed Hades kidnapping Persephone, but didn’t stop it for some reason.  Ancient gods had no good samaritan laws.  In fact, methinks they had some serious making shit worse laws.  Maybe guilt got the better of her because she led the search with a torch in each hand.  Whatever the case, homegirl did an impressive enough job to be forever commemorated where crossroads can be found.

Hecate and I danced around each other for a while.  She is another deity that mostly spoke to me through my late friend, then went MIA till this year.  Hecate has been in my ear for about a week now.  Her presence feels quiet and void-like.  I keep seeing the colors charcoal gray and red when she’s near.  Her voice sounds like a cross between that wise, matter-of-fact aunt who politely lectures you over tea and that small voice you hear when your conscience speaks.

Potential Offerings to Hecate

Hecate is easy to please, thankfully.  She is also incredibly protective if she chooses to help you.  Be sure to put a round mirror under your candles, even if you aren’t doing a protection spell.  I would also use a mugwort or sage wand, in addition to the normal candles, oil, and mead/white wine offering.  Hecate is a pretty understanding goddess, but don’t engage her with any bravado or entitlement.  She hates that with a passion.  Also, gratitude is a make-or-break thing to Hecate, so be sure to do a devotional act at least once a week while you are doing this spell.

Things Hecate Likes:

Colors: black, charcoal gray, silver, or red

Smudge Wands/Herbs: mugwort, lavender, bay leaves, mandrake, or sage

Stones: clear quartz, onyx, jasper, or obsidian

Objects: keys, bones, seashells, mirrors, a locket, framed picture of something dear to you, or a lock of hair

Food and Drink: mead, white wine, pomegranate juice, apple cider, honey, garlic, or almonds

Acts of Devotion: volunteering to help a loved one, communing with Hecate during a walk outside, giving up a bad habit, or telling (writing) her a story about something that was painful for you

(NOTE:  I’m now an affiliate at MagickPlanet.com.  This is exciting because they have a fantastic selection of herbs, candles, tarot cards, and other altar supplies.  You can use my link here.  Just be sure to use coupon code spicevicious when you check out so you can save 5% on your total order.)

Spell to Hecate

What You Need:

  • 1 black, dark gray, or red novena candle  (My favorite places to buy candles are Magick Planet, Dragon Marsh, Panhalla Esoteric, or check out this custom one on Etsy.)
  • A food or drink offering (see previous section)
  • A sage, lavender, or mugwort smudge stick (Mugwort seems to be her favorite.)
  • Benzoin incense (Panhalla Esoteric, Magick Planet, or Etsy carry it.)
  • A round mirror
  • An object that is personal to you (see previous section)
  • A clear quartz, jasper, obsidian, or onyx stone or piece of jewelry
  • A notebook and pen to write down your stray thoughts
  • About 30 minutes of time per night for 30 days
  • The self-discipline to do at least one devotional act per week (see previous section)

What You Will Do:

  1.  Start with a short meditation.  This one has a nice minimalist vibe.
  2. Set out the food or drink offering, smudge stick, object, stone, candle, and your journaling supplies.
  3. Set your intention and invite Hecate’s wisdom into your space.  As you do, light your smudge stick and visualize the smoke not only clearing the negativity around you, but also sending an invitation to Hecate.
  4. Give thanks to Hecate and tell her about your offering.  A simple gratitude invocation is: “Blessed Hecate, please accept this wine, this candle, and this stone/object.  I give thanks to you for filling my life, my space, and my aura with your divine light.”
  5. Light your candle and incense.  Visualize your stone and objects absorbing your intentions and filling with Hecate’s love and protection.
  6. There are a few good Hecate invocations, but I really like this invocation from Hekatean Witchcraft.  Recite the following three times: “Prayer to Hekate for Guidance

Oh great Hekate Dadouchos, torch bearer of Persephone and the Underworld, I appeal to you in my time of confusion. As I am stuck, I ask that you shine your torch light on the way to happiness.

Oh great Hekate Enodia, mistress of the ways, as I approach this crossroads in my life, I pray that you show me the right road to travel on.

Oh great Hekate Propolos, leader and guide, please be my companion and lead me on the roads to success and prosperity.

Oh great Hekate Phosphorus, bringer of light, please shine your sacred fires to illuminate the darkness that is my current confusion so that I may see clearly what to do.

Oh great goddess Hekate, to you I pray. Blessed be thy name, and blessed be thy will.”

  1. Make your petition to Hecate.  Be humble and sincere.  Gratitude is everything to Hecate.  Invite her to take your offering.
  2. Spend the next few minutes writing down your stray thoughts and inspirations.
  3. Extinguish the candle and thank Hecate for her help.
  4. Make a point to do your chosen devotional activity at least once in the coming week.  Do it daily, if you can.

If you need a little extra during your time with Hecate, try this meditation before bed:

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest political collab. He’s coming back at some point in September, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  A little bird told me that Part Five will be here by the end of the year, but we shall see…  I think you should go get it, Tiger!

Tarot Reading of the Week: 9/2/20 – 9/9/20

DISCLAIMER: As always, everything presented here is for entertainment and semi-educational purposes only.  Please do not mistake this for mental health therapy or advice.  If you need mental health counseling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local college’s student counseling clinic, county crisis line, or the Psychology Today Portal.

If you want a running list of COVID-19 resources and news, check out my list here.  Also, check out this running list of disaster hotlines by state.  **I have quite a few articles for the news and resources page, but way too much is else calling my attention right now.  I have 120 more articles that go through the end of May.  Beyond that, I haven’t been able to sort through the info coming out.  Sorry to be so slow.

WARNING:  This is the part of my weekly post where I talk about some pop-psychological and tangentially metaphysical thing.  My belief is I’m not the only one noticing this and I wonder how it will affect the New Normal (™).  I am doing this in the hopes that it is useful for someone.  If you are not that someone, you are more than welcome to skip to the reading.  Please accept my humble apologies if you found this preachy.

I’m still thinking about cognitive distortions and their capacity to fuck up your life.  I have something planned that will help explain black-and-white thinking, so stay tuned for that.  In the meantime, let’s move on to overgeneralization.  Overgeneralization is a thought error that involves making a crap ton of assumptions about a person, place, concept, situation, et al based on limited information or experience.  I think about this one every time I scroll through social media…  Wonder why?  

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo…  Here are some examples of overgeneralization you might encounter in your daily life:

  • Your colleague forgets to close out a file at work, then spends the rest of the day assuming he’ll be fired.
  • You get a C in your biology class, then decide you aren’t smart enough to go to college.
  • Your roommate—who has never failed to pay rent before—is $50 short.  You decide that they will just keep doing it and are a big loser, so you give them 30 days to get lost.
  • Your cousin fails to fact-check the latest conspiracy and decides to repost some false information.  When you ask them why they did it, they tell you a personal anecdote about the one time they had a bad experience with “that community” and believe this post reflects their true nature.
  • There was a group of holier-than-though Christian kids in your high school who bullied you relentlessly.  To this day, you cannot be bothered to get to know anyone who identifies as Christian because all Christians have to be like the bullies you met.
  • Your sibling posts some sensationalized crap about how some activist group is really a bunch of terrorists.  Fact-checking your dickhead sib only leads to an argument, where they literally tell you that they haven’t bothered to read your responses, but they’re pretty sure you’re attention-seeking and trying to make yourself look good because that’s what all SJW types do.
  • Your brother just got sober after years of crippling heroin addiction.  You offer support, but he tells you that you can’t possibly help him because you haven’t been through the same thing.  Every addict knows no non-addict has anything to offer them.

As you can see, overgeneralization involves a lot of bigotry and assumption.  It also involved a level of feeling better than others which is easier to do from behind a keyboard.  It is also certainly easier to do than plucking your head out of your ass and examining the evidence.  However, if you’re tired of the stench and view of your rectum, there are a couple things you can do.  One of my favorite workbooks for this sort of thing is Byron Katie’s The Work.  It can get a little intense, but is it any worse than how you might be holding yourself back now?  Try these journal prompts for more immediate gratification:

  • Describe a time when you used overgeneralization at work.
  • Describe a time when you used overgeneralization in your romantic relationships.
  • Describe a time when you used overgeneralization at school.
  • Describe a time when you used overgeneralization in your family relationships.
  • Describe a time when you used overgeneralization in your friendships.
  • Describe a time when you used overgeneralization in your finances.
  • For each category, answer the following questions:
    • Who were the other people, institutions, or entities involved?  What did they do?
    • What were you doing before you caught yourself overgeneralizing?
    • What was the event that caught you to overgeneralize?
    • What was the overgeneralizing thought that you had in this situation?  How did this thought make you feel?
    • Who or what were you making the generalization about?  When is the first time you can remember thinking about this group of people or institution?
    • What is at least one piece of evidence based on your personal experience that makes your generalization true?
    • What is at least one piece of evidence based on an outside or objective source that makes your generalization true?  Have you bothered to fact-check or research this?  Why or why not?
    • What is at least one piece of evidence based on your personal experience that makes your generalization false?
    • What is at least one piece of evidence based on an outside or objective source that makes your generalization false?  Have you bothered to fact-check or research this?  Why or why not?
    • Based on your answers, are you more likely to base your opinions about things on evidence or emotion?  

After that, check out your September 2020 prediction in this pick-a-card:

When you’re done with thinking, you need to watch Seattle Chef Joe’s Facebook Videos.  Please check out his FB page here.  

As always, I have to mention the MindBody/Wellness Research and Science Network group on Facebook.  The chick who runs it takes an evidence-based approach to holistic topics.  I appreciate her common sense-meets-spirituality way of doing things.

Aaaannnnyyyyhoo, Onto the Reading.  Shall We…?

I asked the cards what we need to know about 9/2/20 – 9/9/20 and I got:  Four of Swords (number 4, the need to rest and take a break, rest after illness, retreat from worldly stressors, a time to think things through, be still and quiet, and sometimes physical illness trying to tell one something); Nine of Pentacles (number 9, self-sufficiency, inner and outer wealth, a victory or reward after a long wait, victory after loneliness and sacrifice, and time to enjoy the fruits of one’s labors); Three of Cups (number 3, celebration, friendship, time for preparation, possibly the birth of a child or new project, and enjoying a bountiful harvest); and King of Wands (fire sign male, someone who puts their creations into the world, someone who does not suffer fools gladly, someone who can be judgmental, hasty judgments, and being ready to put one’s creative projects into the world).  There are a couple themes that immediately jump out and slap me across the face.  First, although there is no Major Arcana card in this spread, there is one of each suit represented.  This tells me the first week of September is one to balance your head, heart, and physical body.  I feel like whatever you set into motion to get yourself into alignment will build slowly, but have long-lasting effects.  The second theme that strikes me here is the need to observe and heal.  The Four of Swords kicks off this theme, as it is a card of taking a break after an illness and/or mental stress.  The Four can also be interpreted as someone else pulling away from you, getting out of a toxic situation, or licking your wounds.  This is a great week to step back and observe all of the leftover emotions from last week so that you can process them.  The Nine of Pentacles is a kinder, gentler respite card.  The Nine shows me you have been working hard at something that was potentially delayed or disappointing (probably the disappointment signified in last week’s reading.  Essentially, these first two cards show me that you recently lost something, only to gain something greater provided you don’t fuck it up by overthinking it.  These cards say your best action is to chill the fuck out and work through the thoughts and feelings that have historically led you to chase your tail.  The third theme is one of celebration and gratitude, which is indicated by the Nine of Pentacles and Three of Cups.  Don’t be afraid to recognize your good qualities.  Feel free to take a step back and think about how far you’ve come.  By the same token, recognize the good in others too.  Paradoxically, this spread ends with the King of Wands, who is all about action.  The positive meaning of the King is putting your plans into action and making your creative projects a reality.  The negative meaning of the King is being a judgmental prick who doesn’t grant second chances.  Based on the rest of the spread, my thought would be the best advice is to focus on organizing your vision and projects whilst refusing to entertain the unnecessary.  The King of Wands and Nine of Pentacles are two great cards to see here because I feel like they’re saying this rest period will help you gather the strength, clarity, and creativity you need to put a plan into motion.  Just don’t expect to feel up to the task until the end of the week.

For those of you who may need a little more this week, I asked the Doreen Virtue Angel Tarot Deck for the mantra for a week.  The definition of mantra for my nefarious purposes is: a present-tense statement that you can repeat to yourself during times of anxiety, sadness, or uncertainty.  It’s not an affirmation because the phrasing is more pragmatic and neutral, than overtly positive.  Here’s what I got:

The Card:  Six of Fire

Meaning: Number 6, victory, good news, being recognized for a job well done, rewards or bonuses, rewards for good decisions, promotion or job offer, and acknowledgement.

Mantra:  I graciously accept positive recognition from others.

  • I allow myself to experience success without shame or guilt.
  • I get out of my own way when working towards my goals.
  • I allow others to experience success without jealousy or anger.
  • I make my choices from a pragmatic mindset and without regret.
  • I allow myself the time and space to finish my projects.
  • I respect others’ visions as much as I respect my own.
  • I advocate for my projects and visions lovingly and respectfully.

 

A quick update on my readings:  I have been asked a few times on Instagram if I have a free reading program for new clients.  Ummm, no.  I used to offer free readings, but please believe me when I say it really didn’t work out for me.  (It worked out so badly that there’s no way in hell I’m going to try giving free readings again.)  I give props to any readers who can make free readings work for them, but I’m not that reader.  I also understand that nobody needs to be paying $40 – $60 for a reading right now.  That’s fair.  Plus there are many other people and organizations—namely animal charities, coronavirus relief charities,Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, NAMI, food banks, and the official George Floyd Go Fund Me pageSo I’m offering $5 one-question mini readings if you donate to:

 

Here’s what you need to know about the one-question mini readings:

  • Make your $5 donation to any of the above causes.
  • Screenshot me a copy of the receipt with your payment and personal info blurred or crossed out.
  • Send me one question.  I can’t accommodate follow up questions at this time.

 

If you’re looking for an inspirational poem on finding your place in the world amongst a million ghosts, check out Joan Carol Bird’s latest.  Hey, sharing is caring.  

For those of you who can’t resist a little subtle virtue signalling, why not give to those sweet little animals in Australia?  Funko Pop is releasing a limited edition figure to support the animals hurt in the Australian wildfires.  Arm the Animals is also selling shirts to benefit the animals hurt in the fires.  You can get those here. 

If beanies or water bottles are more your style, check out the Piper Lou collection.  Proceeds from select items benefit the Australian Red Cross. You can see for yourself right here.  Or you can take the more direct route through GreaterGood.com

 P.S.  I managed to publish the first part of my first novel a few months ago!!  I’m excited and want to share it with you. Check out Water Torture Part One: Have You Checked the Children? Here.  Please read and review it.  Thank you!!

Did you like my buddy Marshall Delaware, aka G. G. MacLeod?  Check out our latest political collab He’s coming back at some point in September, FYI.  If you want to read an awesome historical fiction novel, you can get your hands on his book here.  It may take place in Ancient Rome, but Augusta couldn’t be any more timely if it tried.  He actually dropped Part Two a while ago and most recently gifted the world with Part Three.  Part Four is right here.  I think you should go get it, Tiger!