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february 2023: on curiosity & creativity

february 2023: on curiosity & creativity
the fool from six tarot decks: phantomwise, wild unknown, soul cards, true black, antique anatomy, and marigold

hello, friends. with my first book just a month away (!!!), i want to take a brief hiatus from our monthly card studies and instead share some thoughts on the importance of curiosity, the fickleness of the creative process, and the strange pleasure that is writing a book. i'll be back with an essay on the devil in april.

if you've been following me on social media, you might know that my last few months have been pretty difficult. from a visit to the ER to a burst water pipe in my apartment building, to challenges with building management and getting COVID from unmasked contractors, it's been hard to focus on anything besides just getting through the day and taking care of my partner. i am so appreciative of all of the kind words and candles and healing being sent our way — it means the world.

i'm slowly trying to get back to writing, and while it's taking more effort than usual to get words down on paper and screen, i'm grateful to be here, and eager to see what the next few months may bring.

take a deep breath or two, and let it out slowly, gently, purposefully. consider what in your current environment gives you joy, makes you happy, offers comfort. take a sip of your tea or coffee, grab your favorite snack, settle into a comfortable position.

let's talk creativity and curiosity.

i'm a gemini rising with a scorpio sun.

my birth chart, for the astrologers in the house

in some ways, curiosity is my middle name: the need to know, to explore, to examine. curiosity is a driving force in everything i do, a daily motivation, a lifelong pursuit. it is so central to the core of who i am, so imperative to my motivations. i want to understand, to know, to see, more than almost anything else.

hobbies are never just hobbies for me. i want to know how to do everything, anything, all the time, forever. if i see someone doing something cool, i always want to research it. if i hear about something i didn't know before, i always want to dig deeper. if i get an idea for a new topic or medium or collaboration, i always want to chase it immediately.

new mediums are everywhere. there are always new things to discover, to create, to experiment with. and for me, understanding those mediums feels essential.

i want to learn glassblowing, and pottery throwing, and metalworking. i want to know how to paint and draw and sculpt, to mash mediums together, to create something strange and different. i want to be able to play ten different musical instruments, to sing with more control and confidence, to know more about music theory and composition. i want to cook dozens of different cuisines, try new techniques, create spice blends and teas that hold intentions. i want to make candles and oils and perfumes, to play with scent and flavor, to evoke memories and dreams. i want to craft jewelry, to twist metal, to set gems. i want to learn to pole dance, and kickbox, and lift really heavy weights. i want to travel, to go to the corners of the earth, to see the sky and the sea from every possible angle. i want to be more flexible and also to be stronger, want to push my body to do incredible things, but i also want to rest, to relax, to unclench. i want to make amazing collaborations, and i also want to create beautiful things on my own. i want to read everything, listen to everything, watch everything.

but more than almost anything else, i want to write books, make artwork, and help empower people to create what they want, explore what they need, understand what they are. i want to encourage people to be their fullest, truest selves.

i want to make beautiful things that help people make their own beautiful things, whatever that means, whatever form that takes.

creativity doesn't always look like a generous, beautiful outpouring of artistry and skill. it's not always a straight line from brilliant idea to perfect, finished object. (in fact, it almost never is.) sometimes creativity is just raw expression, or necessary catharsis, or stumbling through emotions in a tangible way.

sometimes creativity itself is what saves us, not whatever the creativity produces.

the last few months have felt impossible. beyond the joyful anxiety of knowing that my first book will soon be out in the world, embarking on its own independent journeys without me and hopefully making new friends along the way, it's felt like a catastrophic number of things have gone wrong. health scares, apartment disasters, endless challenges. it's exhausting, frustrating, demoralizing.

at home, january 30th, 2023

how to create, when everything feels unsafe, unsteady? where to go, when every road feels blocked? what to explore and be curious about, when i feel completely depleted?

curiosity is what led me to tarot in the first place. i wanted something spiritual that was also mine: that wasn't taught to me by gatekeeping elders or framed as something i had to do in order to earn salvation. i needed a tool that wasn't loaded, that felt accessible and joyful, that wouldn't judge me.

that first day that i pulled cards may have left me with more questions than answers — but it also showed me potential roads forward, ones that i hope to never stop exploring.

i never expected to write a book, in spite of it being one of my childhood dreams. as an adult i have learned that publishing is a deeply broken industry across the board, and writing a weird little indie tarot book, as a queer chronically ill person, in a fucking pandemic, was certainly a choice. i had to fight for a lot of things that i wanted (hand-drawn glyphs, a cover i loved, a giant list of resources in the back) and a lot of things that i didn't want (no images of cards, no centering of the rider-waite-smith deck, no heteronormativity) — and sometimes those fights took everything i had.

but busting through those blocks, over and over, reminded me what i was fighting for. and in moments when everything feels hopeless, i know that i have the capacity to push through, even if i have no idea where the road i'm on may take me.

my first tarot photo: august 2016, the wild unknown tarot deck

all of this is part of why the fool is so important to me as a figure, and why i believe in them so fully as an archetype, a character, a driving force. not because they're a hero, not because they are already good at everything: but because they figure out what they want to pursue and they just fucking go for it, regardless of their fears, their uncertainties, their questions.

they let their curiosity lead them into something strange, something new, something that is completely out of their control.

the fool knows that creativity, connection, expression, exploration, aren't defined by their products, their destinations, their so-called successes. the desire to share, to offer, to be, comes from within us, is part of us: and the result of that venture is not the point, not the purpose.

the making, the desire, the curiosity, is what matters.

everything that happens in the major arcana is because the fool was brave enough to take a risk, to look at that wild unknown, that strange and unwritten future, and dare to give it form, shape, texture.

everything significant that has happened in my life was because i took a chance, listened to myself, looked outside of what i already knew, and decided to chase after something different.

the fool from six tarot decks: phantomwise, wild unknown, soul cards, true black, antique anatomy, and marigold

the fool is creativity incarnate. they are someone that is open to anything, who understands that wanting is not bad, selfish, or wrong. desire is necessary, and longing is beautiful. craving is not a weakness: instead this impulse for more, for different, is what drives us forward, what pushes us to innovate and explore and try.

creativity isn't just about artistry, or perfection, or innovation. it isn't about talent or skill, about being the best with a particular medium or in a particular format. creativity itself is about truth of expression, authentic vision, pure imagination. it's believing that something can be real, and engaging with a strange, messy process to make it happen. it's indulging in curiosity, and believing that there is something holy in that state of not-yet-knowing.

creativity isn't about outcomes. it's simply about trying.

creativity has room for all of us. it is available to all of us. you don't have to spend years and years learning a craft, taking classes and courses and mentorships, becoming an expert, just to practice creativity. all you have to do is let it in, make space for it, play with it. all you have to do is acknowledge a desire for creativity, and it will be there, at your fingertips, ready to go.

the fool from the wild unknown tarot

creativity simply is. and that has beautiful, endless value, all on its own.

today is the first day of everyday fools, my 28-day email course on finding the fool in your daily life. signups will close at midnight EST, so if you've been thinking about joining us, today is your last day to snag your spot.

wishing you a beautiful, joyful, and creative february, friends.