Tarot: The Journey Within

Decks: Soul Cards Tarot & Blue Bird Lenormand
Image by Victoria Constantino

Tarot is a reflection of ourselves. When we hold a deck, a sort of energetic transference takes place. It is a connection that takes place all day, every day, and it is as natural as breathing. Anytime we hold something, we are connecting with its energy. It may not be a conscious connection, but it happens nonetheless. When we consider that everything is energy, this isn’t so surprising. Those who are sensitive to energy can connect with objects in this way and obtain any information they may hold.

Anyone who has worked with energy tools, like pendulums and tarot, for any significant period of time will tell you that you can get a skewed or false reading if your energy is off, or not aligned. If you are upset or impatient or having a bad day, for example, or if your thoughts are scattered or you are experiencing anxiety, the cards will reflect this. That is why it is so important to breathe deeply or otherwise connect in to a place of peace before entering a reading, whether you are receiving it or performing it, for yourself or another. Many practitioners develop their own rituals around this, and often, those may include prayer or calling on higher guidance or allies for a message. It can simply involve calling on the highest truth and light to assist with the reading. This is a way of ensuring the truth and accuracy of the cards and interpretation, and that it comes from a place of light to bring clarity and wisdom to the querent.

The way we approach a reading is also connected to the expectations we have for it. If we enter a reading with doubt that it will be of any value, then the cards will reflect that. However, if we enter the reading in a place of trust or positive expectation, expecting clarity to come from it, then that is what the cards will deliver. In precisely the way that the cards reflect our energy, they are also a powerful reflective tool that allows us to peer within. Of course, we can ask the cards anything, which opens up infinite possibilities of exploration for us. If we are examining what we need to release that we may not be aware of, or anything that may be coming up for clearing and healing, or even how best to go about doing the work of healing, the cards can be a valuable tool that allows us infinite insight into our interior landscape.

When we are attuned to our intuition, we can gain exponentially greater value from a reading. In this ideal interpretive space, we can go far, far beyond what the guidebook says to find the meaning and interpretation that is meant especially for us and our specific situation and experience. Certain symbols on the cards may catch our eye, for example; those can hold meanings that we can interpret in ways that are particular to us and, in this way, provide us with unique value. Trusting our instincts when it comes to the interpretation is key, as it opens us up to a greater flow of information. As soon as we doubt, we put up blocks to anything that might want to come through. Overall, tarot provides a medium through which we can tap into deeper and deeper layers of healing, awareness, and understanding that bring us further in our journey into the interior.

The Pilgrim’s Path

Image by Victoria Constantino

Before we can rise like the Phoenix from the ashes, we first have to burn.

Before we can rise to the summit, we must first climb the mountain.

When we are meant to walk the pilgrim’s path, it rises up to meet us. Once we take the first step, there is no turning back, and the journey we take changes us forever. Our own shadows take form, writ large across the path, and we are unable to pass until we face them. Fear, illusion, our own weaknesses and shortcomings, all take shape and demand we look at them. They confront us, and there is no choice but to do the inner work. It is only through healing that they dissipate, allowing us safe passage.

This journey may take place once in a lifetime, and it only happens for some. At the end of it, we stand looking at ourselves as we were when we first began, and find we are hardly recognizable. The person at the start of the journey was mere clay, unshaped, formless. The journey itself is what moulds us.

Daily Reading: December 30, 2020

Image by Victoria Constantino

Today is the thirtieth day of the twelfth month. Three appears twice in the first two placements of today’s date, in the two and one of the month and in today’s date with a zero, which indicates zero-point manifestation, creating from the heart and the Source within, supported by the amplification of the doubled number three. Three is a number of expansion and manifestation, and thirty-three is closely aligned with the Ascended Masters (Jesus, Buddha, Quan Yin, Sanat Kumara, and Commander Ashtar, to name a few). This is a powerful day in which we can harness the full moon energies to clear, heal, release, and reset emotionally and spiritually. We are guided to call on our team of light, our team in spirit, to assist us in our transformation. We are in the midst of a great transition as we head further into the Great Awakening and an increase in light, both within us as we clear and heal so we can hold more illumination in our light bodies and on the planet as a whole, which is increasing in light as the old, heavier energies continue to clear and release from this reality. 

Adding up all of the numbers in today’s date brings us ten, a number of finality, closure, and completion. We have reached the end of a cycle and indeed are poised at the very brink of the current year, preparing to enter the new one. Now the energies are strongly supporting emotional closure and healing as we work toward our inner transformation. We are supported by a loving universe of infinite wisdom and intelligence and are guided to call on its support any time we need it. We are infinitely loved, supported, and protected. This is a time in which many are awakening to their innate soul gifts and abilities. As we do so, we are guided to look toward the light and welcome it into our hearts in increasing levels. As we are each of the light and are Sourced from it, we hold it deeply within us. As we bring in more light to fill our being, it strengthens us and connects us more strongly to the whole of who we are and to our truth. Note any dreams now as they may be guiding you to new knowledge or a deeper understanding of yourself and your path. Also note what comes to the surface to be cleared and healed; it is debris arising from the depths to be released. As we clear our waters, we make way for a smooth transition. We are sailing away from old hurts and grief and as we sail on calmer waters, a deep healing transforms us from the depths of our being. 

Mantra: I release the old and welcome all that is for my highest good with an open heart. I am continually strengthening in the light.

Daily Reading: December 29, 2020

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Today is the twenty-ninth day of the twelfth month. Twenty-nine suggests co-creative partnerships and is a strong indicator that, along with our higher self and team in spirit, we are supported in our healing as we work to put the past behind us. The number two appears four times in today’s date, a strong indicator that we are supported on all levels and have a strong support system backing us; this can be in the physical but is especially indicated on the nonphysical plane. Each of us has a team in spirit that is loving us unconditionally in every moment, helping us in every way imaginable. We are guided to call on them and ask for their support and assistance with anything that are working on or through. 

Now is the time to move on from what isn’t working. We are always healing on deeper levels, and what we are ready to heal is coming up in our awareness. As we gain an understanding of where we need healing and what it is time for us to release from our lives, simply shifting our focus and attention to what is arising to be healed and setting the intention to begin clearing it begins the process. As always, we are guided to follow our intuition and take any next steps that will support us in our process of healing and releasing the past. Nine is also an indicator that we are expanding in our spiritual abilities, which is a natural result of doing the healing work. The eleven resulting from the two and nine is a gateway number that is opening up the path ahead for us to move forward with our intended life mission. We align more strongly with our purpose when we do this important inner work and, as we progress in our healing journey, we are able to advance even further along on our unique path. 

Adding up all of the numbers in today’s date brings us eighteen, and nine. The nine appearing twice in today’s numbers strongly underscores endings and finality as we hurtle onward toward the close of the year. The current energies are still supporting us—as they always are, but are especially potent now—in clearing, releasing, transmuting, and healing traumas, wounds, past energies that are not serving us, and anything in our life that we are ready to let go of or that needs to go to support our highest good. This release clears the path and makes room for the new and better to enter our lives. We are ready, as a collective and uniquely as individuals on our own paths, to uplevel as never before and move ahead into a brighter tomorrow. We can welcome this better future by preparing ourselves energetically, which means doing the inner work. Healing isn’t a one-and-done affair; it takes time, focus, and dedication, and is well worth the effort. It can make the difference between staying stuck or stagnant and welcoming bright new opportunities, happiness, freedom, and unprecedented clarity. Eighteen indicates that, having done this work, we are making way for new abundance, opportunities, and prosperous beginnings to flow to us.

Mantra: I release with love and forgiveness what does not serve me and welcome all that is for my highest good to flow to me. I step forward on the path of clarity, love, wisdom, and peace.

Daily Reading: December 10, 2020

Image by Victoria Constantino

Today is the tenth day of the twelfth month. Ten symbolizes the end of a cycle and the subsequent beginning of a new one. We are poised at a significant place as we are reaching the end of a cycle that begins transitioning into the new in just a few days, with the 12/12 energetic portal. The eclipse that follows just a few days after that, on 12/14, brings a reset, and the 12/21 solstice flips the switch and signifies the beginning point of the momentum that begins building on that day, as we begin sailing into an increase in light. Now we are being asked to face wounds and traumas and do the work needed to clear and transmute them so we can begin, or continue, to heal. We are preparing now and continuing our preparations for the better that is to come. This work is key, as it makes room for improvements to enter our lives. We first have to clear away the underbrush before we can begin building the new, stronger foundation. 

Adding up all of the numbers in today’s date yields eight. This number calls us back to our eternal nature and asks us to tap into our divinity, where we can draw from a sense of powerful worthiness, limitless strength, and a magnificent connection to the infinite intelligence of the universe. We can reach, through this place, a divine knowing. We are strongly encouraged to go within to reach this place, to connect with who we truly are: this is the Source within. The answers we seek are within us, and no one can guide us like we can guide ourselves. Finding this place can be a journey, but it is one that changes everything, and it is a journey well worth taking. Simply spending twenty minutes breathing and clearing your mind makes space for any messages to come to you. The messages that come from a divine place are different from the mental chatter; you will be able to better distinguish these over time and with practice. It is also important to be aware that we are clearing energetic dross, which may rise to the surface and make itself known so it can be cleared, released, and transmuted. We are guided to let go with love and compassion.

This very important work yields magnificent gifts. Through this daily practice, we become more attuned, can do deep inner healing, receive energetic upgrades, strengthen our energy and our connection to the divine, and open our clairgifts. When we strengthen our energy, we are also forging stronger protections around us. This also helps us to receive messages that are meant for us with greater clarity and accuracy, and to be guided down the path that is truly meant for us—the one that we are meant for—in this lifetime. 

Mantra: I am connected to my inner Source and strengthen my knowing of the divinity within. My path and purpose are clear, and I always perceive with clarity.

Daily Reading: November 30, 2020

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Today is the thirtieth day of the eleventh month. Three is a celebratory number of joy, expression, expansion, creativity, community, and manifestation. It can indicate friendships, growth, and increase on many levels of your life. Zero is a number associated with the God-force and zero-point manifestation, a point of creation from which all things are possible. It reminds us of our powerful creative potential, and that we are the creators of our own realities. It also reminds us of the power of our thoughts. Our thoughts are like beacons, a radio broadcast signal we send to the universe to tell it what to deliver to us. The tarot card The Fool is associated with 0, indicating fresh starts, a reset point, and new beginnings. The number 30 brings aspects of happy new beginnings and reminds us to look at what we are creating and the developments in our lives with positivity, enthusiasm, and excitement for what is to come.

Today’s full moon and eclipse are significant in light of the aspects of the number 30. Full moons bring great healing, and eclipses are, like the number zero, a reset point. They often bring sweeping, powerful changes and shake loose what is outdated and what is not working or for your highest good in order to allow those energies to be swept out of your life. This clearing and energetic reset provides a stronger platform upon which can build anew. Today’s eclipse is a partial or penumbral lunar eclipse. Because it is a partial eclipse, its energies are somewhat lessened. This gives us an opportunity to prepare for the crumbling and release of energies that need to leave us and also offers time to go within. It is important for us to take time to do some self-exploration and really look at what is not serving us so we can set intentions to release it now. Journaling can be especially helpful with this, as we write down what we want to release from our lives and burn the paper to set the energies free.

All of this is in preparation for the full solar eclipse occurring just two weeks from now on December 14. Where the moon is associated with the feminine, receiving energies, the sun is associated with the masculine. Any inward looking done now through the next several days will help prepare us as we gain awareness of what could be better, how we would like to improve, and any changes we would like to make. The intentions we set now will pave the way for a great clearing, release, and transmutation of the old energies that will will be swept away powerfully over the next few weeks as the moon wanes, leading up to the solar eclipse. During the solar eclipse, we can set forth new intentions, planting those seeds in the fertile darkness of the new moon and watch them build and grow during the waxing moon phase leading up to the end of the year. 

Adding up all of the numbers in today’s date yields nine, which underscores the closure and finality of this time. It asks us to release so we can heal, to clear so we can welcome anew what is fresh and for our benefit and betterment. We are asked to seek and to expect improvements on every level now. Our knowing that these things are coming to us and developing for us will draw them to us like a magnet. A major cycle on earth is ending, for Gaia and for the collective; the new one begins on Dec. 21–the day of the solstice and the tipping point of darkness into light. As we seek improvements in every area of our lives and visualize ourselves rising up into improved, expanded, elevated versions of ourselves, this uplift is felt by the collective. When one rises, we all rise. The expansion of one is the expansion of all.

Mantra: I release what does not serve me and welcome changes for the better. I am expanding, growing, and improving on every level and in every area of my life. I welcome brighter, new, fresh beginnings. 

Healing and Eclipses: Finding the Light Within

Image by Victoria Constantino

This has been a busy year for planet Earth, and the solar system has been just as active. The planetary activity will have brought us a total of six eclipses—two solar and four lunar—by the close of 2020. The November 30 eclipse is a partial lunar eclipse, and the final eclipse of the year—a total solar eclipse—occurs on December 14. This year being heavier on the lunar side gives weight to our internal landscape. If you are not already on the healing journey, the universe could have plans for you.

The moon is associated with the feminine, the subconscious mind, and with our inner world. When the moon becomes full on November 30, it will be partially obscured by the shadow of the Earth. The moon’s magnetic pull informs the tides, and as our bodies contain so much water, we are affected as well. November’s full moon is in Gemini, whose symbol is the twins. This aspect of duality shines a light on partnership, and is echoed in the aspects of darkness and light. This lunar eclipse is focused on the connection between the human self and the higher self, or the physical self and the spirit. Because it is a partial or penumbral eclipse, the energies are somewhat lessened.

When we start to tune into our often complex interior world, we have the opportunity to gain infinite clarity and increased self-awareness. We are also afforded a chance to heal and release emotional weight and any baggage we have been carrying. We can set down unnecessary burdens and clear energies that do not serve us simply by setting the intention of doing so. The Gemini influence may ask us to consider our relationship with ourselves and with our spirituality. We may find ourselves objectively examining aspects of our lives and our ways of living, thinking, and being that we have not consciously considered before or that we have not explored in a long time. We may begin questioning our choices and habits of thought as we see better ways of thinking and being that not only serve our highest good, but that can advance us further along on our path.

We are guided to look within and think of ways we can improve on all levels. We always benefit by being aware of our thoughts and thinking positively. Because we create our own reality, every thought matters. We can always guide our thoughts toward something better, stepping up or improving every thought with a better and more positive one, much like we would climb a staircase one step at a time. This is a way of healing; it is healing through self-awareness. We are being asked at this time to shine a light on our mental landscape and see where we can shift from the negative to the positive. Where are we doing ourselves a disservice with negative thinking? How can we adopt a growth mindset? How can we see ourselves as our Source sees us? When we seek to perceive with crystal clarity and to gain in wisdom, the universe will surely answer.

Lunar eclipses create energetic resets. Symbolically and energetically, when the full moon passes through shadow and then through the other side to reveal its luminescence once again, it is like turning off a switch and then turning it back on again. Full moons are times of growth, healing, and powerful cleansing, and the eclipse amplifies those energies. Eclipses have a way of creating powerful shifts and breakthroughs in our lives. If we have been resisting change that needs to happen for our growth and improvement, the eclipse can act as a catalyst that will shake things up and create the change you have been resisting or that is for your betterment.

Solar eclipses occur on the new moon, and the December 14 eclipse will be in heady Sagittarius. During a solar eclipse, the sun is completely obscured. This period of darkness asks us to look within and encourages self-examination. We are asked to explore what isn’t working, how we want to move forward, and our goals and plans for the year ahead. This may be a time to consider where you want to be by the end of 2020, and what you want to accomplish by the end of 2021. Sagittarius brings influences of the intellect, and you may find it beneficial to consider paths to professional development, career advancement, and spiritual development. The solar eclipse may bring profound insights and understanding that can help you to advance by leaps and bounds and reach new levels of understanding.

Wherever you stood at the beginning of the year, and wherever you may be now, one thing is certain—by the end of 2020, you stand a very good chance of being a much different and more improved version of yourself. We are always on the way to somewhere, and the journey is eternal. We only have now; we only have each moment. Where we stand in every moment is a potential springboard to somewhere else. The question is, how high do you want to jump? How free do you want to be? How far will you let yourself soar?

December: A Reading for the Collective

Deck: Soul Cards by Kristine Fredheim
Image by Victoria Constantino

This month, we are asked to do the inner work, to heal and clear what does not serve us and send it into the light for transmutation. We are also asked to protect our energy and stay focused on our goals in order to receive the opportunities and manifestations that are waiting for us. This month carries a lot of opportunity, and we are guided to not let anything knock us off our path, no matter how challenging it may be. Read on to discover what each week holds and the overall guidance this month from the universe.

Q1: What is the overall energy of December? Three of Wands

The Three of Wands is a strong indicator of manifestations coming to us this month. This is also a time of profound growth and expansion. We have the opportunity to uplevel in many ways in our lives, all of which begin with the spiritual. As we allow more of what we want to come to us, it begins showing up in manifested form, whether through ideas, situations and circumstances, or physical objects. This is a time of great abundance, and as we align our beliefs with our desires, we can receive new manifestations and opportunities. The Three of Wands also guides us to continue working toward our goals and shows our efforts bearing fruit. We may begin reaping the rewards of our dedication and applied skill this month. As we shift our intentions toward our desires, hidden forces conspire to deliver to us the fruits of our asking. This month rewards goal-setting, self-expression, and creativity.

Q2: Week 1 energy: Four of Swords

Our guidance this week is to rest. By allowing ourselves some downtime, getting extra sleep, and relaxing, we create the time and space in which we can heal, which furthers our growth on every level. This week, as we release, clear, and process what does not serve us, we make room to let in the light. Relaxing and clearing our minds from any worries and stress, and reaching for things that make us feel happy, brings us into the receiving mode and allows what is good to flow to us. When we are in the flow state, we magnetize good things to us and receive answers to our questions, along with clarity, new ideas, and physical manifestations. Jumping off the mental hamster wheel this week will allow for a reset. On the other side of it, we will be able to easily and quickly find better ideas and think with greater clarity and positivity. There is an aspect this week of clearing energetic blockages around the mental and emotional bodies in our auric field. Spending time in meditation and visualizing golden light around us and within us can help to clear and transmute those energies and fill and strengthen our field with more light. This protects us, energizes us, and prepares us to better handle what comes next.

Q3: Week 2 energy: Five of Wands

Fives indicate change and wands are associated with the will, motivation, passion, inspiration, drive, and manifestation. Our goals may be shifting this week and we may begin seeing things in a new light. Our ideas may be gathering momentum and reaching a fulcrum point on which they will pivot. We may start seeing expansion and changes in unexpected ways, as well as movement in situations that were previously stagnant, or even those that we thought were steady and stable. Aspects that were on pause could now begin to move and shift. New challenges could make themselves known this week; we can choose to look at them as opportunities, and they may in fact be blessings in disguise. Unexpected changes are flowing this week and it may be best to go with the flow and take the path of least resistance, as a detour may lead us to just the place we never knew we wanted to go. When we find ourselves there, we may realize it was better than anything we were expecting or had asked for.

Q4: Week 3 energy: Seven of Swords

It may be of critical importance this week to stay focused on our goals and not let anything sway us from our path. In the face of challenges, we can choose to let ourselves be knocked off our path or to stay the course. We are guided to keep coming back to our truth and to protect our boundaries. Remaining aware of the intentions of others and knowing who we can trust and whom we should guard ourselves against can play into the events of this week. Remember that you can determine the people you allow into your personal space. Knowing when to distance yourself from others and becoming aware of false motives from those who pass themselves off as genuine could be of the utmost importance now. It may be necessary to create stronger boundaries around yourself and to protect your energy, as not all visitors are welcome, and not all visitors are physical. Striving to move forward with integrity in all that you do and maintaining your integrity are also highlighted. We are asked to proceed with truth and clarity and remember who we truly are—divine beings sourced from pure, positive energy.

Q5: Week 4 energy: Temperance

This could be a good week to set a budget and stick to it. Practicing frugality is highlighted, as is planning ahead for the future, both financially and otherwise. Looking at the resources you have with gratitude rather than looking at what you don’t have with regret will bring you more of what you appreciate. We are asked to be aware of our vibration this week. Abraham-Hicks notes that sometimes, when we think we are focused on the thing we want, we are actually focused (vibrationally) on its absence. This week, we are guided to call on our allies to help promote greater balance, harmony, and peace in our lives, minds, and hearts. Calling on our allies for assistance is a good supplement to doing the work—of healing, meditation, and any other internal work we are focused on, such as changing our mindset to one of positivity and shifting our expectations to the positive. Know that you are worthy and deserving of everything you desire, and remember that you are a powerful creator who is shaping your reality from moment to moment simply by your focused thought and intention.

Q6: Guidance from the universe for December: Ace of Wands

The Ace of Wands guides us to expect positive outcomes and is a strong indicator of new opportunities, adventures, developments, and manifestations coming to us this month. We are asked not to let anything or anyone distract us or get in our way—not challenges, nor disappointments, nor upsets of any kind. This month, we would benefit from maintaining our focus on our dreams, goals, and desires and taking action toward making them happen when it feels right to take it. When we begin to second-guess ourselves or start to doubt our ideas, we may be killing something beautiful before it ever has a chance to blossom. We may see opportunities where we least expect them this week, and we are asked to be open to possibilities we may never have considered before. This month’s energy supports new beginnings, fresh starts, and creative opportunities.

Using Tarot to Deepen Your Spiritual Connection

A Jane Austen Tarot Deck
Image by Victoria Constantino

Tarot is a wonderful tool for understanding ourselves and the world in which we live, work, and play. We can use it for guidance on any conceivable subject. While I am a firm believer that it should be approached with trust and respect, we can use it to consult on anything that genuinely matters to us and for more general guidance in a given situation. It can help us to navigate with confidence and from a place of understanding the energies that are to come in the days and weeks ahead. In this way, it helps us to better prepare for what is on its way and to make any necessary adjustments.

Now more than ever, we have time to sit with our thoughts, to examine our lives, and consider where making changes would benefit us. Many of us have the opportunity to connect with ourselves and with our spirituality on deeper levels than perhaps ever before. There are many ways to strengthen our spiritual connection, including systems, beliefs, and practices that we may find beneficial to varying degrees. Meditation and yoga can help us practice mindfulness, center our thoughts and being-ness, and open to receive messages, guidance, and wisdom from the divine.

The beauty of using tarot to deepen that connection is that we can ask a question and receive an immediate answer, albeit one we may need to sit with for a while to fully comprehend. Tarot is a medium through which we can tap into understanding and wisdom that is only as limited as our capacity for interpretation. Best of all, when we approach the cards with reverence, trust, and from a centered state in which we intend to receive guidance that is for our highest good or to receive messages from the divine, our guides, or allies, we can connect with energies linked to source and draw from the well of infinite intelligence.

There are so many questions we can ask, depending on our needs and situation, that can help us strengthen our connection to source, our allies, the higher self, and to our own spirituality and intuition. Some of those might be, What guidance is available to me? How can I deepen my connection to source/my allies/my higher self/my intuition? How can I strengthen my trust? Tarot’s strength is in its versatility, which allows it to speak to us on many levels throughout our lives. Because it is based on archetypes that speak to the whole of human experience, it is a guiding light we can turn to anytime we need it.

Healing with Tarot

Reading tarot can bring wisdom and enlightenment, and the cards are often a guiding light for us, showing us the way out of dark places, out of the muck and confusion we sometimes find ourselves caught in. If you find yourself there, it can be helpful to take a moment to just breathe and sit in stillness, coming back to yourself, back to your own awareness and acknowledging whatever thoughts come to you.

Whatever you are thinking about is an indicator of your vibrational standpoint, and becoming aware of this is helpful in showing you what you need to clear, what energies you are still holding onto, and any limiting beliefs you may have running in your subconscious or in the background that you weren’t consciously aware of.

Breathe through whatever comes up and release it simply by holding the intention of releasing it. Then replace it with the thoughts, beliefs, or energies you want to have instead, such as joy, peace, health, wisdom, alignment, clarity, or prosperity–or all of the above. Even simply thinking those words over and over will bring their energies into your vibrational field.

According to Abraham-Hicks, it takes 17 seconds to get the momentum going and for law of attraction to pick up on something. Simply sitting with thoughts of peace, joy, and abundance for as little as 17 seconds can start making a difference in your energy, thoughts, and emotions. It also shifts your vibrational standpoint, which is key considering that you attract whatever you are feeling, whatever is in your vibration.

When we do this important inner work, tarot can be a helpful tool in showing us how we have shifted our vibration through the cards that come up. These can show us what we are attracting and what is coming next based on the current state of things.

Spiritual teacher Cristina Aroche teaches that healing is a lifelong journey, that we are always healing. Like peeling the layers of an onion, we heal on deeper and deeper levels. As you go through this process, it is important to be patient with yourself, to love yourself, and let yourself feel through everything so you can let it go for good, keeping, of course what supports you and releasing what no longer serves.