Introducing: Monthly Self-Care Tarot With Reader Cassandra Snow!
I'll be pairing up with tarot reader Cassandra Snow for a monthly self-care tarot card reading! Starting Feb. 1st, look for some helpful self-care tips, to accompany the card of the month. Until then, check out the interview I did with Cassandra below to learn about our new segment. Find out more about the relationship between mental health and tarot, interpreting its messages, and how to enjoy this segment even if you think tarot is as legitimate as Gwyneth Paltrow in a lab coat.
A Note From Tarot Reader Cassandra Snow:
Thank you so much for bringing me on to Take Your Pills, Dominique. A little bit about me for those reading: in addition to being multi-passionate where my career is concerned, my life and identity has also been eclectic, and has led me and my tarot practice to where we are now. I have PTSD, C-PTSD, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Persistent Depressive Disorder. I'm also physically ill which does not help the depression, let me tell you! I've got Rheumatoid Arthritis, PCOS, a thyroid that has never fully regulated, and a sexual dysfunction that is still super hard for me to discuss. After years of therapy and treatment for my physical ailments, I actually lead a fairly normal life (if you consider being a tarot reader & theatre artist normal, that is!) I'm super queer which means most of my free time is spent reading Autostraddle and glaring at Tinder. I live with my best friend in the whole world, and we share two cats who I regularly sing to instead of doing the work stuff I should be doing.
-How should we use the advice from these cards to cope with our mental illnesses?
That's really up to you. You can read what energies or situations might arise this month and decide to handle it your own way. Or you might read the whole thing and decide my and/or Dominique’s tips for self-care is best. The big thing is, you can choose to use these tips to supplement any mental health care and self-care you're already doing.
-Can you share one golden nugget of self-care and/or mental health advice that's really been a game changer for you?
I think my entire life changed the day I internalized the idea that I don't actually have to do anything I don't want to or am not comfortable doing. We live in a world where there's so much pressure to do or be so many different things. A good friend/tarot reader/partner/self-help author will tell you that said pressure isn't relevant to you, and that your job is to live your best life the best way you're able to. I don't think I understand that saying no didn't JUST mean I could turn down work if I were too overloaded or that I could put up sexual boundaries. Those things are super important, but so is opting out of holidays that stress you out, turning down food that isn't good for you, sticking to restrictive food plans that aren't good for you, and even agreeing to have coffee with a potential new friend when you're actually not that interested. You can literally say no to anything! It's amazing! But it took a really long time for me to really see or understand that.
-How has your personal health journey affected the way you read cards?
I definitely think I'm much more open-minded of a reader than you might expect or see elsewhere. Some of this is because my queer identity is so integral to who I am, but a lot of it is because I have been through hell and back physically and mentally and I make no presumptions about what a client has or has not been through, and how that may affect their worldview and decision making. I want clients to walk away from a session with me feeling as empowered and confident as they can feel, and that means not casting any kind of judgment on their decisions or lives. It also has helped me see the cards in new ways; I think any life experience does that. I used to see the cards as more of a prophetic tool, but I can count on one hand the number of times in the past year I've done my own readings looking for answers about my future. Instead, it's made me really focused on what the cards have to say about what I need to work on, where I've already grown, and what I should focus on now. I think these are my strongest readings for clients too.
-What's the best way for a tarot skeptic/non-believer to use the messages from these cards?
I actually have a couple of close friends and regular clients who are staunch atheists and skeptics. Pulling tarot cards isn't that different from analyzing ink blots or finding meaning in a work of art or piece of entertainment to those clients. Our subconscious brings out the things we need to see and hear, and there are actual psychology and science behind that statement. I think with anything we're skeptical of; it's best to just come in with an open mind and see what hits or doesn't hit for you. Maybe what I say, or what you add doesn't mean anything to a skeptic, but something in the card itself does strike them. That's okay. Just come in looking for advice on self-care and healing, and trust that that's really all I'm trying to provide. I'm not trying to evangelize tarot or my own brand of Paganism on people--in part, because evangelizing doesn't work, and in part because people's beliefs and even their lack of beliefs are important to who they are as a person. I would never try to change that or try to get you to become a different person, especially while you're undergoing a big self-care/self-love/healing process.
-How can consulting the tarot, getting readings, etc., benefit those with mental illness?
First of all, any time spent trying to understand, heal, and build yourself up is time well spent. There's the time aspect alone. I actually stay really busy during the holiday season with clients, not because people are buying sessions as gifts but because people literally need to sit and focus on themselves for an hour with everything out in the world being so hectic. Otherwise, the cards do have a lot to say about protecting, healing, and taking care of yourself. The cards can also provide mantras and spiritual work that do not and should not replace medical care but can certainly help ground you and lift your mood.
-How should we NOT interpret the advice of the cards/these readings?
Nothing I say is set in stone! Also do not ever substitute any spiritual work for the care of your doctors and therapists. You probably need both, but you DEFINITELY need their oversight. Also, my word is not the final law on what these cards can mean. If you know tarot and learned a card differently or see something totally different in the art, trust your own gut. Tarot is basically limitless, so don't feel like this is it.
Bio: Cassandra Snow (she/her/they/them) is a professional tarot card reader & teacher, writer, and theatre artist living in Minneapolis, MN. She has been reading tarot professionally for nearly a decade and writes about tarot at their blog and at Little Red Tarot. Cassandra focuses her tarot practice on healing and empowerment for marginalized people, trauma survivors, and those struggling with their mental and physical health. She's also GREAT at business mapping and planning out practical steps with the tarot. Cassandra Teaches classes like Tarot 101 for Creatives, Queering the Tarot, and Sex & Tarot as well as coaches new readers one on one. Cassandra recently signed a book deal with Wieser Publishing to publish their work on Queering the Tarot and now spends much of their time drinking coffee and staring at their computer. That book will be out in early 2019.
A Disclaimer From Meeee: As Cassandra noted in our interview, these monthly tarot card readings, along with the accompanying advice and tips, should NEVER replace medical care. Cassandra and I are NOT medical or mental health professionals. The self-care tips given by Cassandra, myself, and the cards, are simply opinion and intuition-based, and NOT to be used as a treatment or medical advice for mental or physical illness. The advice/tips in these posts and card readings are NOT the final word on your health, wellness, illness, relationships, existence, fortune, loved ones, misfortune, personality, future, present, past, life, etc. This blog segment is meant purely for the purpose of providing the reader with a fun monthly blog post. Xoxo thank you!