RELEASE THE PAIN WITH GRACE




Let’s talk about a difficult subject: Loss. Particularly, loss of friends.

This has been the bane of my existence ever since I was in elementary school. Back then, the lost connections were quickly mended because you could almost immediately replace a friend to play with for another one. As I got older, though, so grew my attachments to people and the notion that the more I invested in them, the more I would strengthen our bond. I was wrong.

Loss is a natural event, and it is one that brings pain along if we resist it. I have found that in order to show myself compassion, I can perhaps allow myself to cry over it for a period of time. Once that time is up, I owe it to myself to nurture my broken spirit and to keep going. It builds strength, but in the face of loss, there is no strength that can control or prevent. Once the loss is effective, what is gone is gone. And that’s that.

I’ve always been extremely tender of heart, but equally sharp with my tongue. It is perhaps the make up for the Queen of Swords, the lonely widow who is disconnected from others and protective of herself, but still human. She still feels, she’s just been through enough to harden her heart and make her cool with logic. Logic protects the heart in this case.

I’ve shed a large number of tears in the past year because of my connections to others being severed. My emotional attachments don’t allow me to go down without really feeling it first. And it’s getting more acute the closer I get to my Saturn Return coming. I know what my biggest lessons are going to be because they’ve already been manifesting in my life. Saturn Return is going to be a real hoot!



The cosmos are not to be blamed for every misfortune in our lives, but I have noticed that these events have been happening during the retrogrades, the most recent of which is the retrograde of Mars in my sign, Libra. My Moon is in Aries and so is my Mars house, so its been affecting me in various aspects.

Today, I’ve set a single card on the table to honor these feelings, with the intention of letting go of this sense of loss. The ultimate shedding.

In this reflection I want to state that I accept the cards I’ve been dealt. I accept that as humans we are not perfect and we make mistakes. But firstly I want to recognize that I make mistakes and that I am not exempt from learning. Each experience will guide me with the honesty of what life has to offer, and I accept the tough lessons with grace.

If I’ve been abrasive to others, may they forgive me someday. I always act with what I think is the best course of action at the time, but I do make mistakes.



WISHES
♠ May Niki someday forgive me for not having been an ideal friend at the time she needed one. I did try.
♠ May Frances someday forgive me for being so rough when I stood up for myself. I gave so many warnings prior to the offenses.
♠ May Jaime someday forgive me for not handling his poor communication skills as a room mate well. I did try.

Now I understand why they say new beginnings come with the Death card. It’s because when you shed old connections and clean out the remnants of burnt bridges, you become lighter. With those connections no longer slowing down your progress, you are free to continue exploring what lies on the other end of loss. Even though your spirit is broken from the notion of having let go, a sense of hope creeps up on you when you start taking the first few steps forward. A measure of progress will be according to whether or not you try looking back at what there was before the loss. Once you are accepting, you’ve found liberation from your pain. Once it’s over, you become tender again and reborn to a new life of possibilities.



After writing this post, I feel so much better. I don't get to talk about my musings often, simply because they can be abstract and hard to place in words. The best epiphanies come in quiet contemplation with the self.

Death illustration compliments of visionary artist Dave McKean. Ouija board compliments of Parker Brothers.
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ALEX AND ANI MAGIC BRACELETS





I’ve never been the type of girl to load up on accessories. Magic is what happens all around us as we journey through our lives... And yet, there is space to charge a piece with intention and high frequency which we can keep with us. Usually, there is a main piece I use that is seen if you really look but not entirely noticeable. My arms usually go bare or with rings on my fingers. The most I used were necklaces. Now I'm getting used to a different kind of intention setting, and it involves a delicate piece of jewelry!

Back in April I was looking for Mother’s Day presents for my Mom. She is very special to me and I wanted to surprise her with something sleek. She loves all that sparkles and shines, which naturally made me walk into Alex and Ani out of curiosity. Cue internal glitter explosion! I must have asked the salesperson to see way too many mix and match combinations, but I walked out of the store glowing because I felt I had built a custom piece for somebody very special in my life. It was dreamlike!

Alex and Ani has great selections that are also very versatile. You can pile on as much mix and match as you like, or you can wear a delicate bracelet or bangle. It’s really up to personal preference and style. I love how expressive the charms can be, and how each charm has a meaning and a theme. All pieces come with an illustrated card that lists the meaning for each symbol. When gifting friend or lover, it feels like you can find a meaning for every walk of life, and that's a lovely thing.

I love the elements present in some of the bangles. What starts out as a very simple piece takes on life with the color or the shape of the charm. I have found that depending on what I feel like, what I slip onto my wrist keeps me happy throughout the day. I feel the good vibes of the symbol, and take it on as an amulet or a shield to protect me throughout the day. Currently, my favorite to wear by itself is the Luna Moth bangle.





For those of you that lile a bit of drama in your outfits, there is a piece for you. Or several. I’ve found my collection to have bits of my personality, and the way I wear my jewelry is very different from how my Mom wears hers. My style reflects my interests in divination and the Zodiac. I’ve gotten different selections, but when I put my bangles on, I feel like a total witch.

IN MY COLLECTION:

Bumblebee Charm Bangle by UNICEF
Driven • Loyal • Conscientious
in Gold

Big and Little Dipper Set of Two Charm Bangles by Big Brothers
Big Sisters of AmericaConstant • Haven • Brilliant
In Silver

Romance Heart Wrap Rose Gold x 2
Emotion • Attraction • Passion
In Rose Gold

Libra Celestial Wheel Charm Bangle
Fair • Balanced • Harmonious
In Gold

July Birth Month Charm Bangle
Passion • Contentment • Love
In Gold

Luna Moth Charm Bangle
Faith • Fulfillment • Vulnerability
In Silver

Jellyfish Charm Bangle (Not pictured)
Luminous • Flow • Surreal
In Silver

September Birth Month Charm Bangle (Not pictured)
Clarity • Wisdom • Tranquility
In Gold




Since I got started, I’ve signed up to receive their newsletter and I obsess about he collection I already have. Its been nice to day dream about pieces I’d like to get as well. I guess this is what it feels like to identify with the treats your gender indulges in. I was starting to think I was a lost cause!

Every time I slip a bangle on, I feel like I’m putting on a piece of positivity and a shiny reminder to love myself more. That’s worth a lot to me.

This was not a sponsored post. I genuinely endorse this product!
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MAGIC IN PRAGUE




Let’s talk about one of my many loves, the Tarot of Prague. I got the 1st Edition off Lisa Frideborg of Tarotize. She was great to give me the opportunity to own it. I interviewed the deck and realized there was something very special about it.

Earlier last year, the Baba Studio found 15 Tarot of Prague 2nd Edition decks in one of their cupboards. They decided to sell them online. Those decks went in about half an hour when they were listed, but I managed to snag myself a copy with a bag. Later on, they put the remaining bags for sale and I snagged a second one to house my backup deck in. I’ve got a total of three now, with one copy of the first edition and two copies of the second. I have the original Strength bag from their first run which currently houses my Poisoncage Tarot and the two limited edition bags, housing my two 2nd Edition Tarot of Prague sets.



These bags are really amazing to look at. The quality is that of which you are used to from the more recent productions of the Baba Studio, but having options for both sides of the bag takes it a little further to me. Some days when I am working, I turn it over to either side depending on the type of theme I want to have going on in my work station. The card backs on the back of the cards are pure magic, especially since the Tarot of Prague card backs have an anagram used to fend off demons.

SIGNATESIGNATEMEREMETENGISETANGIS
ROMATIBISUBITOMOTIBUSIBITAMOR

The translation of this would be "Revel yourself in the form os a sign (in the sky) in vain you reach for me, I am your desire. Rome, through movement (stars) suddenly love comes to you." Its purpose? Well, apparently it was put there to fool any demons that might want to harm the tower. It is believed that these demons, faced with a word puzzle, would read it again and again, unable to figure it out, until they became exhausted and went away. Who knows, perhaps it worked? — The Tarot of Prague. Karen Mahony. p. 22-23.

Ever since I read the book, I’ve been wanting to visit Prague. The City of the Alchemists sounds like it would be a wonderful place to go for leisure as for enriching the intellect. I’d love to get lost in their cobblestone streets of magic!]

A few years ago I thought that this tarot deck would never again be re-printed. Much to my surprise, I was very wrong. And I am so happy that I was! Another misconception that I held is that it couldn’t possibly be improved much more. It was already perfect, after all! — Wrong again. Even the box and the book got a huge makeover, and they are breathtaking!

You can view a previous review of this deck’s second edition here. For the third edition, 1,500 were printed and 1,300 were placed for sale. The other 200 have been reserved for the Magic Prague tours, where the Baba Studio entertains guests and teaches them about the magical city of the alchemists.

The card stock is perhaps my favorite. I don’t know what it is about it, it’s matte like the Alice Tarot, but it’s crunchy and it shuffles perfectly.I love the card stock, it’s so perfect. It feels like skin… or like wax. Hard to describe, but a pleasant experience to the sense of touch. When you fan these cards out, they catch the light and reflect back to you. Like ancient mirrors!



The way the cold stamping is applied makes the cards look as if they have elements coming to life or emphasizing things for you to look at. The dimension that it feeds the illustrations is nothing short of magic! Everything looks even more beautiful under candlelight or late at night with a light to accompany you through the reading. For example, in the right light, the lobster in The Moon really stands out to me. When I look at the card in natural daylight, it isn’t so obvious unless I turn the card at an angle.

Because the previous versions didn’t have the cold stamping, the illustrations looked to me like statues in compositions that resemble storytelling tableaus. Now, the cards feel like they are immersed in magic and gold tipped by the occult, there is definitely more life in them. They feel like an alchemical wonder!

Something I feel though when I handle these cards is that they are great for use with high magic in practice. They can also sing if you decide to meditate and project into them. They will look great propped up in an altar or charging a candle with intention.

If I ever go to Prague, I will be sure to hunt down many of my favorites to photograph juxtaposed by the cards. Some of my favorite cards are the one that show off the architecture at night time or with added allure. (Ace of Cups, Ten of Cups, Wheel of Fortune, The Moon.)

I waited for this deck to come in the mail so eagerly, but it arrived when I was out for holiday. Making the time to sit down with it took some effort, but I think I’ve finally got it down!

Some of my favorite Baba Studio drawstring pouches are in fact those from the Tarot of Prague. I thought I’d emphasize the fact by photographing my collection, which houses a few other decks I work with.




What is your most important characteristic?
King of Wands. This card serves as a reminder to bear your lifestyle and practices loudly. To wear them with pride will ring true to your best self, which in turn feeds your courage. You will feel empowered and generally in control once you accept this as the outcome and proceed!

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
The Sun. This deck draws upon the energy of the present time, pushing us to play to our strengths. Trust and goodnatured laughs are tools to help is on our way through life, seeking out the better experiences and the moments that bring us joy. This deck will serve to remind us to seek the joys in life’s magic.

What are your limits?
Seven of Coins. The limits lie in the limits of the imagination. If you close your mind off to possibilities, nothing new will happen. Try not to fall into the comfort zone of assuming things will remain as they have been. Seek alternatives, seek new courses of action to challenge what you feel is safe. That’s really how new adventures start and how better possibilities start to make themselves known to you.



What are you here to teach me?
Page of Wands. This tarot deck wants to show us not to dim ourselves out. This speaks volumes to me in the importance of personal style becoming an expression of personality and outward expression. How you express and carry yourself will be the way that the outside world perceives us. Having a loud and clear voice will make us stand out as courageous individuals fueled by our own imagination and vision. Follow your passions tirelessly!

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
Four of Swords. Wait until the right time to read. Wait until you’re absolutely ready to seek out new opinions and ways of thinking. Perspectives change when we are ready for them. Until then, it’s okay to lay low and to seek introspective thinking to guard our thoughts. The entire world doesn’t need to know our plans.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
Four of Wands. Success. Coming into and owning your full potential to enjoy by yourself and with others. Injecting yourself with passion will inspire others to do the same. After you’ve asserted grounds for yourself, you may come to find that those close to you rejoice and admire you for it. This tarot deck is a very positive tool for self-empowerment.



Which card do you want to show off?
Queen of Coins. This Baba Studio project has been worked out to perfection under the critical eyes of its makers. Much like offspring, now it goes out into the world to make a life for itself. There is a great sense of success, of beauty and of strength. I feel like it’s a complete success, and this deck is proud of how it came out.

How do you see me?
The Magician. What an interesting card pull! The Magician stands here as one who possesses all of the tools and the skills to make great things happen. What initially starts out as just a vision ends up gaining a full body of energy to propel the concept. As above, so below. That which is envisioned will spring into manifestation once it has been brought forth into being. Work hard, work ardently and your dreams come true.

How do you see yourself?
Ace of Swords. This deck is sharp in tone, the message would be hard to skew. It is a tool for delivering a powerful truth and depicting a reality to be reckoned with. On the table of The Magician it is a useful tool to cut away toxic connections and to promote clarity of thought. When used incorrectly, this means the psyche turns aggressive and prone to assumption. The deck implores you to remain clear of thinking and goals.

This deck has been given a new lease of life. It really sings! If you’re curious about getting yourself a copy, you can visit the Baba Studio online or like their Facebook page.
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TRIP TO PUERTO RICO





Where have I been???
I went back home for a 1 month vacation. It was amazing! I felt much more accepting of and in tune with my culture, and the sheltered lifestyle I live there makes it for less undesirable encounters. I had so much fun with my Mom and my loved ones!

Right away, I come home and find opportunities for design work. Don’t ask me how it happens; it just does! I was randomly contacted by a new client that has been giving me tons of work to do, and I love it! I also decided to take on a poster project for my friend Tony, who is very gifted in the film industry. He’ll be big someday! I just know it!

Something I love about going back home is the chance to see my old work in the wild. Here, we have my lovely logo done for the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. I made this logo in my second year of college. Nearly ten years later, I spot it on billboards, television, in the newspapers and all over town. This one I found at a promotion booth, and I squealed in joy. My work has life, it pops up all over! That makes me so proud.





The drawing up top is actually a drawing Jean made me years ago. I found it and felt absolutely inspired by it, and by how tastefully whimsical this drawing is. The stylization is so good, it makes me happy to this day!

The first client I got has had me making and touching up logos for him. I’ve also been tasked with stationary and file organization. I feel right at home! Decided to ask him for permission, though, before I share that work here. So it may pop up at a later date... Or not!

For now, I can still share details from Tony's film poster. I love it madly, even though it's my first shot at digitally illustrating Puerto Ricans into anime. It can be done somehow!





As for the poster, I worked on it tirelessly and finished it in a week. Way to go! It is for the film by Antonio Camuñas, Clear Your Mind. Check it out!

The trip itself was very entertaining. I ate at so many amazing places. The food was divine! I think the top favorites were Ruth’s Chris, Mashawi and Texas de Brazil. So good! I figured I'd show a food gallery, hopefully you don't mind seeing cooked meat. If not, scroll past at full speed!









I got the chance to go out a few times to different locations. They’re okay in good company, but certainly not my favorite thing to do. Old San Juan was a definite treat, I love hanging out in the old Spanish streets.  To be honest with you all, I’m kind of a hermit crab. I love staying in with good food and a crisp glass of champagne rosé to keep me company… Unless of course, we’re talking about goth clubs. Whole other story!

Something that I could really appreciate about this trip was coming to terms with the approach of my Saturn Return. I’ve already been feeling the effects with these five planets in Retrograde: Mercury, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto. Whoppin’! Felt the effects for sure!

Ever since I’ve been back, my thoughts have taken me back to Puerto Rico. I’ll likely be back again real soon! Likely to get away from the blazing summer heat of sunny California. After all I’ve been through, that tiny island in the Atlantic is starting to feel like home.










Stay tuned for some card reviews and for some more jewelry! It's good to be back!
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