New year, new prompt (to let down after 2 entries? hahaha)! Although I think this will be more of a series than a prompt. I can't promise to have a regular schedule for this series, but I'll make sure to post from genuine aha moments—I just hope that happens more often.
I decided to bring in here my musings with the different cards in the tarot deck. In case you don't know it yet, it's not just the spread that makes up the messages in tarot. Every card rings in some moral truth and substance that is profoundly meaningful in itself. A tarot deck has two categories: the major arcana, and the minor arcana. While typically, the journey through the deck starts with the major arcana's The Fool, I decided to run through this randomly, like a random feature from a collection of books. Today's pick is Wheel of Fortune.
The cyclical nature of life has been a theme that I've been fixating on for a while, especially with everything that happened last year (wow I can't believe that I can finally refer to 2020 in past tense like the nightmare that it was). One of the meaningful concepts that that year has imbedded in my consciousness is that life truly is a wheel that keeps turning. Or a roller coaster that never stops—up and down, fast and slow—Life is a heck of a ride. And almost always, none of it is personal.
The Wheel of Fortune tells about life's genius way around its laws of cause and effect. It's a good reminder that the wheel of life never stops turning and that we exist in a realm that goes around in a circle. If you think about it, many phrases revolve around the idea of repetition and coming full circle. Sayings like "what goes around comes around", or "history repeats itself", or "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree", or how about the Disney classic "it's the circle of life". All these phrases typically used in different settings and situations, yet all bear the same theory that what we put out, we eventually receive back in.
In the end, the Wheel of Fortune card is just a reminder of the bittersweet truth of how life works.
If you've read my previous blog, you'd know this is one concept that the past year has highlighted to my consciousness. Most of the events from last year showed me that we owe as much as we take from life. We can't really expect to go on our merry way without having some sort of consequence from our choices. And whether those are bad or good choices, it sticks with us like unpaid debt that strings us to those very moments, forever keeping us accountable for our past. Take the current state of the earth's climate crisis. For years, science has not once failed from warning humankind of the consequences of our unconscious materialistic hoarding. How many more famines, pandemics, typhoon devastations, and unbearably hot summers have to happen before we even listen to Mother Nature's pleas and be more conscious of the trail of the carbon footprint we leave behind? What's truly sad about this is that the longer we ignore these blaring distress signals from nature, the more we suffer. We end up passing the troubles and problems to the generation after us; A generation that won't have any other choice but to live through the consequences of the mess their predecessor has irresponsibly made. They're left to clean up and solve a problem that they never even chose in the first place—environmentally, politically, and even down to more personal aspects in life. And this might be karma in its grandest, most obvious form: the debts we don't end up paying in our lifetime become the debts our sons and daughters end up paying for instead, as the wheel of fortune keeps turning and reflecting us the same energy we choose to give out to the world. It's our choices that pave the journey of humankind and determine whether we're moving forward or going around in circles.
This card reminds us to be conscious; to be more aware of our actions and intentions that we put out. Because even in moments when we think that the universe isn't paying attention, it is. And the universe is a swift and masterful debt collector—it's nothing personal, it's just life.
In the end, the Wheel of Fortune card is just a reminder of the bittersweet truth of how life works. It's often hard to accept that the things happening in our lives is somehow, in one way or another, a consequence of our choices—especially when it's not as good as we had hoped. And it's even harder to accept all the type of debts we've recklessly dealt ourselves with. But the point of The Wheel of Fortune is not that we're forever doomed by our choices in the past, but it's the choices we make now in the present that determine the nature of our future. This card reminds us to be conscious; to be more aware of our actions and intentions that we put out. Because even in moments when we think that the universe isn't paying attention, it is. And the universe is a swift and masterful debt collector—it's nothing personal, it's just life.
Hello! It's been a while. I know I kind of snoozed-out from blogging here even with my monthly prompt hahaha. I've been pretty busy catching up on last-minute stuff that I've lost a lot of time for me to create content to put in here. I'll try to make up for that though. In the meantime, here is a year-end post haha
I feel like saying that 2020 has been one heck of a wild ride would be quite an understatement. I'm not even sure if there's a word that's ample in meaning to describe the craziness of the finished year. But here are four 3-letter words that helped me define 2020's themes and lessons on my side of the lens. Why 3? I also don't know hahaha. All I know is that while writing down my reflections on the 12 months that had passed, these are the words stuck in my head. Just so happens that they all shared the same amount of letters in them. Ha!
If there’s anything that this year has made clear it's that everything is fragile. Everything is fleeting. The number of times we’ve been uprooted from a ground of comfort and then thrust into completely uncharted waters had burned achingly bright in my consciousness. From the numerous anxieties, my mind went crazy for, the thought of never knowing until when I’m allowed to enjoy the things I enjoy now has got to be one of the most heavier ones. I know life is as shitty as shitty could go right now, but what if the very things that keep me (subconsciously) afloat suddenly disappear too? More than the anxiety over losing them, my fear mostly was that at the end of it all, I end up realising I never really savoured the moments while I still had them. I think the regret weighs more heavily than the very sadness of losing. That’s when I realised how crucial it was for me to list down and acknowledge every little thing that I would feel devastated over if I ever did lose them.
My dogs. My family. Our house. Our ability to buy, store, and enjoy food. My cozy little room. The fact that I can just be, and not panic over where the fuck I’d be staying in for the night. The fact that we have enough.
I think the thought of waking up one day and then realizing I don’t have my dogs to hold, to love—that alone can break me enough a thousand times over. I can’t even imagine living in a world without my sister, my mother, my father, or anyone in my family. I know 2020 is a very, very, very terrible year in general. But I also know that if I don’t adjust my focus, I will end up throwing myself into greater heartaches than this year had offered the world. Focusing and living in the now makes sure that I get to heartily appreciate everything that I have now, and not waste them all on mind-trick-fears of the unknown, only to wake up on the very moment they disappear.
2020 had me holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop over my head, all the while forgetting the other shoe I’ve got right in front of me. If you think about it (and I know this might sound stupid to some (mostly the nihilistic ones hahaha)): at the end of it all, it won't be trivial things or the length of time we'll have here on this earth (or even our sharp quips about how pointless living is, all because of the fact the "we'll all die anyway") that will define how well and smartly we've lived. It'll always be about how much we've lived in a moment that will measure our ability to savour the one life we've been given. Even back in the pre-covid era, we've already lived with this notion that one way or another, we’ll all die at some point. We’ll all feel loss at some point. But I guess the real trick is finding out how well you’ll spend everything you have while you still have it.
I feel like 2020 did not leave a single stone unturned.
With Mother Nature catching up to us and making us feel all the more the irreversible effects of climate change (an inevitable consequence of mankind's lack of action towards the climate crisis (I'm looking at you, big corporate business owners)), the BLM movement exposing the police brutality and discrimination towards black people, the exposure of the police brutality and killings here in the Philippines and how they take advantage of power over marginalized people, this pandemic showing in full display the capabilities of our town, city, and country leaders’ ability to truly lead and hold up their promises from when they were still convincing the masses to put them in the seat, even all the cheating, predatory tactics, and emotional and physical abuse exposed by countless of victims (mostly women)...I think one of the major themes this year was that the world has its way of making you pay your dues. NOTHING is free, karma is real.
You know what’s weird is that when people hear the word “karma” they immediately think about “punishment” or “curse”, but really, it’s just a mirror. What you do about it determines whether it'll be a curse or a blessing. Karma is life’s way of ricocheting the energy and intentions we put out into the world, holding us accountable for our actions and intentions. Ultimately, what you give out will recycle back into you.
Think of it like loaning—you’re presented with a number of choices all the time in life, and every decision you take from this colorful selection registers into life’s bank book. Whatever you’ve decided to avail from life will be asked back from you, one way or another. Try to run, and it’ll come back to bite you in the ass with interest (and trust me, life's one hungry hunter). Sometimes it even asks you of the very thing you ran away from—life's funny that way. So say you decided to run away from responsibility; life will indulge you with that choice (and not to mention, privilege), but eventually, it'll give you some other form of responsibility that this time, you won't be able to get out of. A prime example of this is how humankind ignored the calls of mother nature for years. Look at us now: facing the consequences of climate change and under the great pressure of making it right in under 10 years, or the world will heat up by an additional 2 degrees, and will begin in becoming uninhabitable. That's the thing: the more refusal of acknowledgment one does towards their karmic consequences, the more it adds up, intensifies, and eventually snowball into an avalanche of painful truth—some with less obvious signs, some with achingly hard-to-ignore sirens of red lights. Life has a funny way of instilling karma in various aspects of our life. It finds a way to follow us around and cleverly blend into our everyday lives until we recognise it for what it is and what it is trying to convey. And the only way out is to pay and make it right. In witchcraft, you can’t just cast a hex on anyone without paying a price—every hex comes back to you three times over. I love that sense of accountability from the get-go; the acknowledgment and acceptance that you can’t just do whatever you want for free, especially when it's ill-natured. Karma is the universe's way of guiding us to the right path. It's a blinking light of chance to make things right and to make our paths straight.
I think in one way or another, we all have some kind of debt to pay. The beauty about it is that, if you’re paying attention enough, it teaches important lessons to guide us through life. Disregard it, and you’ll end up paying back more than what you've bargained for. So be courageous and make things right. Don’t let it pile up. Pay attention, and pay your dues.
In my 26 years in this life, I was never one to make elaborate plans for the new year. I’ve always believed in the saying “man plans, God laughs”, which this year has painfully remained us all. This concept ironically slapped me hard on the face because back in December of 2019, I gathered my lazy ass and made these detailed checklists for “the new millennium ahead!”—from creative goals, to financial, to life—I feel like a big clown. God’s probably laughed up a storm going “this girl really had how many years to strap on a pair and grow tf up, but she chose THIS year” HAHAHAHA. Ah, well.
Even though I still think that planning is a crucial part of surviving this crazy life, I think this year has taught a lot of us to just let go. Not in every aspect per se, but more on the pursuit of bending life into our every will. I know that was easier for most during the pre-covid era. Want to get away from it all? Book a vacation trip. Want to celebrate? Go out with your friends and family! Feeling lonely? Go out and meet new people. Want to relax? Book a massage! There were so many means to an end just right there at our fingertips, and now we’re suddenly thrown into a world where countless amount of complications and what-ifs are tied to those very things that used to be our saving grace of instant gratification.
There has been so much dilemma over that loss of control that the idea of letting things be and riding the wave has either been the enemy or the final sigh of giving up. But to me, when you’ve carefully mastered the art of riding the wave of life, you’ll find that there’s a third door that opens up for you; one that allows you to be carefree whilst still being in control. When you accept life as it is and not for what and how you want it to be, you enter another realm of possibilities that lets you have the opportunity to plan things out, but still manages to surprise you with new adventures, opening your eyes to different perspectives and vision.
Life is never gonna be within our grasp the whole time. But when we learn to let it be and accept it for what it is, I believe we’ll find that we can have more from life itself than just the pressure of struggling with it, and that is the pleasure of truly living in it.
I think we can all agree on how much this year felt like death. Let’s start with the wildfires, then the volcano eruptions, the death of coral reefs, mass deforestations, typhoon surges, and then came the covid era. What’s worse is that it doesn’t stop in natural disasters—the police killings, mass shootings, abuse of military power...if this year were a tarot card, it’d be Death.
Here’s the thing about the Death card though, that I believe is also true for most connotations on death: it comes with rebirth. In most (if not all) beliefs, concepts, and scientific processes, there’s always some form of life after death; a new beginning after an end; a cycle of life. Whether its as simple as germination of new plants in an ashen ground, to more complex ideas like eternal life that is heaven, or being reborn into someone or something else, or even ending up stuck in this world as some form of spirit—there’s always some form of rebirth that happens after some drastic event of death and destruction.
With all the deaths that have happened this year (literally, but mostly figuratively), I think there has also been some kind of process of revival for anyone that has experienced some kind of life-dismantling event, one way or another. After all, without death, there cannot be a chance for a new life. Often, the phenomenon of things going up in smoke and going through the turbulence of fire and destruction paves a new breeding ground for a new life. And as we stand on the ashes of what was, an opportunity of reinvention for what is to come presents itself: for from ashes, a microcosm of genius natural science occurs, allowing the cycle of life to happen and lead to a humble burst of new hope and renaissance—something like a baptism of fire and rain.
If this year has made death something of palpable weight against our fingertips, imagine the resurgence of life waiting for us afterward, and the zest of ever-new energy it has in store. If we welcome the chance of it in, and if we are willing to work through our issues and transgressions to be deserving enough of it, and if we’re patient and forgiving in its process, new life will spring from the ashes and rebirth will inevitably happen.
I knew from the get-go that this semester was going to be my most work-intensive yet. I knew that because aside form my Thesis 1, I had 3 more design-heavy subjects, Publication being the heaviest. I heard it from other students who took the class before, and they all came with one warning: take on a topic that you like or else…
Basically, we were tasked to self-publish our own books (or create the first prototype of it, at the least, considering the parameters of “self-publishing”). All original content from text to photos and illustrations. My professor broke down all the collateral deadlines: text drafts first, illustration and photography next, and finally the printing (CAN WE ALL AGREE that this is always the trickiest??) And we only had 3.5 months to complete it.
After crumpling my 10th scratch paper full of (dumb) concept drafts, I sat in the corner of Venice Mall’s food court, staring at another blank paper, stumped (it’s all good, I was just waiting for my ride and I didn’t want to waste any time (although I felt the pity looks from the couple beside me ???)) I took out my phone and checked what my horoscope says about this because LORD, STARS, THE COSMOS, PLEASE….HELP ME. HAHAHAHA. I needed to present a concept draft the next day and I still have 0. Lol.
That’s when it hit me—a topic I won’t get bored with and am deeply interested in: astrology; horoscope, zodiac signs, and all that hocus-pocus. But I wanted to add more dimensions on it, since I didn’t want it to be a how-to or anything like that. I mean, my zodiac knowledge is pretty good, but I’m no expert to be writing a guide book. So I added another topic to merge it with, which was dreams. I’ve always been fascinated with dreams and how our supposedly asleep brain paints all these scenarios and stories that we get momentarily (or sometimes even more) obsessed with, the moment we wake up. I thought about how dreams are visual metaphors of our subconscious and how we try to decode it to make sense of our lives. Kind of like how the early astrologers tried to make sense of life with astrology. So yes, this was going to be a good pair.
So the concept is simple: There will be 4 chapters, representing the 4 elements; and then 3 dream narratives in each. 12 dream narratives in total, for all 12 zodiac signs. Essentially, what I wanted the reader to experience with the book is the feeling of walking in a dream, waking up from it, and then finally trying to make sense of it. Each dream narratives are tailored for a specific zodiac sign, matching their characteristics, personality stereotypes, etc. The thing with dreams is the fact that it’s all metaphorical. Dream of a dog biting you and that means a possible betrayal. Dream of flying and that means you’re feeling a whole sense of freedom. And so for each dream recounts that takes place in these weird scenarios and settings, there will be key elements to it that puts the stories into perspective, fitting it into the zodiac sign it’s assigned with. And for this book, while I wanted the stories to be essentially open for interpretation of each reader, I left a “dream bank” in the back, that’s like a dream dictionary where the readers can check into. (And a few blank pages for the reader’s own dream journaling.)
Then came the second-most tricky part (because printing is the trickiest, ok, don’t even fight me on this. If you get your prints exactly the way you want it on the first go…..damn where do you get your stuff printed Imma go THERE!), the execution. For each sign, there will be a different set. So yes, we prepped for 12 shoots in 2.5 weeks, and then had the photoshoots in 5 weekends.
Here’s a sample of the spreads. Aside from the dream narratives, there’s also fun facts about each zodiac sign.
Side note: Big shoutout to my models, Jessa and Dianne (If you remember then in a previous post I had here)! You guys nailed ittt ❤️🌈💫
For now, the book I have here with me would be the first prototype. While I’m super happy with how it turned out, I’m still working on perfecting it before I decide to sell it maybe? Idk. Let me know if you guys are interested in this book, AND if you’re interested in my process with arranging the photoshoots, looks, and post! I’d love to share my experience (and maybe some Lightroom presets? Haha) with it on a separate post (because this is getting long hahaha).⭐️