Queen of Swords

queenofswords-345x600Has there ever been anyone in your social circle who tells it like it is? That’s the Queen of Swords. She’s the speaker of truth with grace. She doesn’t judge but encourages an independent view of all situations.

The Queen of Swords sits on a grey throne. She doesn’t care about who did what. She cares about the facts.  Do you notice her environment? She is sits above the clouds on a clear day. She has the ability to see every perspective of a situation and doesn’t allow her view to be clouded by judgement. She also encourages you to approach a situation with complete effort. After all, why would you put half of yourself into a situation when you could put your whole self into it?

My friend went on a date with a  guy and said she wasn’t ready to open up to him. The Queen of Swords would say do it. Tell him about yourself. Be proud of your favorite TV shows, share your hopes for the futures, your plans for a family, your joy in singing in the church choir. Those things that make you, the complete you.

The Queen of Swords also encourages you to seek the truth? Do you often ask why you hang out with the people you are do? The Queen wants to know if they serve you well. How about if you keep dating the guy you don’t really like? Is he someone to pass the time away or is he someone you seem your self with for the long term?

The Queen of Swords lives as a seeker. She demands to know why and demands that you seek your true self.  When she shows up in a tarot reading, ask yourself what could you be seeking more? Are you looking at the situation from all angles? Are you showing up to a social situation as your true self? Are you doing it because you want to do it, or because you are expected to?

The Queen of Swords is a happy woman. She teaches us that a key to happiness is not to hide from life.



Putting your price on your website

I’m in the midst of planning a wedding. This experience has caused me to label vendors into two groups. Those who put price on their website and those who do not.

Is there a right or wrong answer? I would say it is somewhere in between.

Naming your price

If you name your price on your sales page, you give your customer the advantage of knowing immediately what they are getting. When I was looking at wedding planners, I had a budget for this service. If they were over, it was easier to move on than send them an email or talk to them for 40 minutes before finding out they charge $1000 of my budget. In return, they wouldn’t have to waste time on me instead of a customer willing to pay them. I would also think that they are experienced compared to someone who is offering a package of $200.

Now, this also means, you lose out on making a sales pitch to a customer who does need your service. As a bride, I have thought certain services weren’t worth it, until they explained to me how their service could “make my day stress-free” or “help me spend more time with my guests”. As a bride, that is something I want and may go over if I can be convinced I need it.

Leaving your price off your website

Without a price, the only tool a customer has to gage your prices is aesthetics. This makes things a little tricky as a potential customer will assume your price based on your site design. Now, you want your site design to appeal to your target demographic. So, those who want your service or product will buy it appeals to their emotional needs. Without a price, you can customize your site and sales pitch to your ideal customer.. However, without a starting point, customers may try to ask for lower than your worth.

So, what are you to do?

A business owner needs to eat. We have to make a set amount to pay our bills. Therefore, it is our responsibility to not go lower than market value for our services. It is also fair to our profession. If we work for lower than market value, we lower the salaries of others in our profession. So, it is best set a benchmark for your base price and work up. Letting your customers know that your service can start at X dollars gives your customer an expectation of your price and the service experience they will get from choosing your business.

Cheryl and I

I’ve been watching “America’s Got Talent”. There were two guys doing acrobatics with knives today; it didn’t phase me as much as a young man did from a few weeks ago.

It was a teenage kid who developed a stutter and turned his condition into a comedic routine. The kid noted that he was a bitter person before the accident. You couldn’t tell it from the outside he mentioned; however, he thought that people with disabilities weren’t worth his time. He choked up telling that part of the story.

His comedic routine was priceless…especially the part where he mentioned using his voice for GPS directions! The judges praised him for turning pain to joy.

Cheryl Strayed, in her book, Wild, has a similar experience. She came from a dysfunctional home and moved into a dysfunctional marriage. Both ended in shambles. Her mother died causing her family to go on their own paths. Her father step-father married another woman who had no interest in his previous family. Her marriage unraveled and Strayed divorced her husband. With nothing left in her old life, she went on a journey to the Pacific Coast Trail.

Strayed’s experiences on the PCT transformed her soul into a place of hope. While her family may have moved on from the close unit they once were, the love they shared helped shape her to who she was today. Knowing this, she was able to forgive, move on, and transform herself into the writer she is. This quote from Dreams of Common Language helped her:

She died a famous woman denying

her wounds


her wounds came from the same source as her power.

Strayed and I are alike as we are different. I have always been a writer; my writing path has been meant with twists and a few dead ends. My growth is the same. My wounds may be different from hers, but they are just that wounds. I can use the same power Strayed found in her wounds to create words that transform and inspire. After all, isn’t that the purpose of art: changing pain into joyful beauty?

The Empress (3)

“Getting in touch with your feminine side.”

tarotempressWhat the hell does that mean anyway?

It may mean going to a spa to get your hair and nails done. It may be decorating the home with fresh flowers. It means creating beauty in your life.

When the Empress is at her best, the items that our in the home: abundance, new marriage, family, pregnancy, and prosperity are into place. However, the Empresses role isn’t to give us these things. She gives the “motherly love” we need to go forth and future our creation into fruition.

The Empress keeps us grounded and its in that grounding that we grow what we planted with the High Priestess and Magician.

We have the power to nurture any idea. This nurturing comes from the “motherly love” inside us or our “feminine side”.

So, when you get in touch with your feminine side, you are not looking just at beauty, but that grounding that keeps us creating abundance in our lives.

The High Priestess (2)

hprwWhen I was single, I decided that I would know who The One was when I knew. I wasn’t going to date just to date. I would trust my intuition. You know, that signal in your stomach that tells you to stay or get the hell out of there? Yep, that one.

The High Priestess is our intuition. Once we know how to manifest from the Magician, the High Priestess tells us when to manifest. Should we go right or left? Stay put or move across country? Go on that second date or simply tell the guy “no thanks.”

Answers don’t always come from logic, but from within. I decided I wouldn’t always be single, but I was going to know the step to take when it happened. I knew it wouldn’t happen through online dating. So, I decided to take steps to venture into new friend groups. I joined political groups and volunteered. I made an effort to reach out to people in my circles that I normally don’t talk to.

I also made lists of what I wanted in a husband. I took a bold step of writing a thank you note to the Universe asking for those qualities or something better. I knew it was going to happen.

The High Priestess in me gave me the nudge to expand my social opportunities. It was doing those opportunities (the Magician) that I finally met my fiancé. It taught me that not only do you have to put yourself out there, you have to get in touch with your inner guide to know when to act.

Qualities: Intuition and Higher Power

It Begins With Tarot

“Michelle, you can’t predict the future. You need to trust God.”

I was once told this by a girl who checked the NextBus app each morning. She wanted to know when her bus would be at the stop in front of our apartment complex. I guess it made life easier for her.

We love to predict the future. We hate to admit it. Even the people who say that the future is in “God’s hands” do it. We tune into the weather forecast to decide what swanky outfit to put on. Sometimes we dress appropriately for the weather. Sometimes we don’t. We turn on the radio to determine the traffic before we head to work each morning. Sometimes its accurate, other times its not. Yet….people are so hesitant when it comes to Tarot cards.

Tarot isn’t a prediction. It a roadmap of where are we going now. A game plan. A tool that says…if we stay the present course, here is what happens. Each card represents an aspect of the human journey. Sometimes we are The Fool: young and eager to go into the unknown. We can be the High Priestess who uses her sense of intuition. The 7 of Cups teaches us that we are blinded by our choices. The 4 of Swords teaches us to rest and take a break. The 2 of Pentacles teaches us balance. Each card can give us an insight to our question or path.

I’m still learning the art of Tarot. Some say an upside down card represents a negative energy. Some say it is simply a lesser energy from the upside card. No matter which way you look at it, you are the author of your own story.

You can turn a card upside up or upside down. You can change your energy and your path. Tarot doesn’t determine your future. It is a guide to what your gut already knows. Those who are wise use this information to their advantage.

It must be very ironic to my former neighbor that God speaks to each of us. Everyone is given a six sense to guide us throughtout our day. Some just listen better than others.

I learned a lot of each of the 78 tarot cards. In the upcoming Tarot Tales, I’m going to describe what they mean to me, how I see them as a spiritual experience. So these upcoming Tales are dedicated to my former neighbor who wants me to trust God….


Review of Catoctin Creek Distillery

In my adventures of exploring more of Loudoun County in Northern Virginia, I decided to take a stop by a distillery. Now, I dont really drink. It could be said that I rarely drink. However, I am always up for something new and appreciate people who take initiative and start their own business much like the owners of Catoctin Creek Distillery did.

The owners, Becky and Scott, wanted to quit their day jobs to do something they loved…so they started a distillery producing whiskey, rye, sherry and moonshine (if I remember correctly.). They later moved their business to Purceville.

Their building is pretty cool. I was impressed with their decor of the tasting room


especially the lights…


Here are some of the knickknacks through out the tasting room:




So, we also toured their distilling and bottling room. The company uses 3 distillers, affectionately named Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.




We learned that the aging barrels are also used by local breweries after their whiskey has been aged…(I also this when I later visited Adroit Theory Brewery).


After the tour, we went for a tasting. My group had the shot flight and a cocktail flight. I had the cocktail flight. I’m not a big alcohol person. My favorite cocktail was Rye Me a River…it had a wonderful citrusy flavor. There was no pressure to finish anything and the bartender offered to make me something else because I thought the Manhattan was too strong. They were great hostesses for someone trying whiskey for the first time.





DC Night Photography: Capitol Hill

When I took a photography course at the USDA Graduate School, the most important thing I learned about night time photography was to shoot at dusk. You dont want to much light and you certainly dont want too little.

I recently went on a scary ghost story tour of Capitol Hill. (On a side note, I really liked this. You learn about history, the tour guide was personable, and I didn’t know that there is a scary demon cat that appears every time something bad happens in DC.

Here are the pictures I took of the tour. I might add more of the tour guide (Samuel Chase) later.








It is height of summer. Flowers are blooming and I took notice of the impatiens and that other random flower (not sure of the name but it is a tree) I couldn’t recognize right outside of my house.

July means that summer is almost over. I changed jobs, but I haven’t had time to capture DC in the summer. I’m planning on rectifying this in the upcoming weeks. Photography is my passion. I love to document. I hope to turn it into some kind of business. Until I get there, I will take photos.