The Magician

And now for something completely different! Our “Learn Tarot #withme” series is now well under way over on our YouTube channel so if you’re looking for something to while away the time under lockdown, why not take a look?

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmooI7savAfP5lNHOZ8-zWg

Want to Learn to Read Tarot?

Top Tips to Get You Started

Whenever I tell someone that I read tarot, responses can be mixed. Some give you that strange look that very clearly tells everyone in the vicinity that they think you’re not quite firing on all cylinders. Others look at you as if you’re the very definition of evil and the spawn of the devil. Each to their own. They’re entitled to their beliefs, just as I’m entitled to mine.

But my absolute favourites are by far the majority I’m pleased to say – the ones that are curious and interested in the secrets and mysteries the tarot has to offer. Often these folk would just like a reading and that’s fabulous of course, but every now and then I come across a person who would like to learn the tarot themselves, to do their own readings. As a reader myself, that’s always something of a thrill to discover about someone.

But Where to Start?

It’s the same with any new skill isn’t it – there seems so much to learn and it’s not always obvious where to begin. When I began, I was 12 and got a free pack in a magazine so that’s always a good place to begin looking, just to see if you’re interested without spending too much cash.

The tarot is, by its very nature, deeply symbolic being linked to astrology and its various glyphs, myths and legends and can be interpreted both upright and in the reverse. With 78 cards in a standard deck, that’s 156 different meanings to learn! That’s before we consider different spreads, how the cards placements affect matters and how the cards can even affect/be affected by other cards in the reading.

A good alternative then might be to invest in Angel Cards, Goddess Cards or Oracle Cards as these often come with their meanings literally written onto the card.

If you’re interested in seeing how this works in practice, I have recently uploaded a video on this very topic to our YouTube channel which I’ve included a link to here:

A good way to get yourself started as a reader…

If you enjoy the video or find anything helpful in it, please do like, share and subscribe to help support the channel and of course feel free to share with anyone you think might enjoy the content themselves.

And, if you’d be interested in more of these “How to” videos, let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Until next time…

What’s Your Greatest Asset?

How to Make the Most of Your Best Feature

Growing up as a teenager in the 90s, articles like this could regularly be found in every young girl’s magazine – how to maximise your bewitching eyes or contagious smile, master a timely hair flick or use make up or clothes to highlight your fantastic face or body shape.

With the arrival of the internet, nowadays, these articles can just as easily be found online but most articles continue to push this idea that your greatest asset or best feature has to be something physical. It’s a rare occurrence, relatively speaking, for it to be suggested that your greatest asset could in fact be unrelated to your physical appearance.

I personally love the following quote:

“Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset”

Joss Whedon

I love this quote because it doesn’t really say whether that asset is a physical attribute or a personality trait, a talent or a skill. It could well be your dazzling smiling that people find captivating or maybe your persuasive personality can charm the birds from the trees. But I bet there’s also something else about you that you’ve been told is “weird”, in a good way, at least once or twice.

For me, I think probably being described as “down-to-earth” a few times suggests to me that this could well be mine. Not that being “down-to-earth” is necessarily something weird but maybe there’s something about me that makes this side of my personality stand out. For instance, maybe it’s because I come across so down-to-earth that I find it incredibly easy to small talk with virtually anyone. The good thing about this skill for me is that, most of the time, I can put people at their ease and build a rapport which certainly makes my job as a further education tutor that much easier when I’m meeting new students all the time.

“You have to be odd to be number one”

Dr Seuss

“Weirdness” for me is just what makes you stand out from everyone else or something unexpected, what marketers would call in business your “unique selling point” so I have to say I completely agree with Joss Whedon and Dr Seuss on this. I suppose it really depends on whatever makes you weird or odd!

Once you’ve figured out what it is about you that is complimented the most, the next thing to do is to learn how to make the most of this feature. So, if you’ve been told you’re funny, whilst you wouldn’t want to overdo it, knowing when and where to make use of this skill might be a way to be more successful – whatever success means to you.

Or, maybe simply being more aware of your strengths so that you can combine and play to all of them is your greatest asset?

Taking even 10 minutes just to sit and think about what makes you tick can help you with this exercise. Take away the job you do, how old you are, whether you’re a parent or not, what’s “expected” of you – if you had the choice, what is it you enjoy doing? That may well be your “weird” thing. How can you now make the most of it?

How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Blog

Part 3: Facebook

The final instalment of a 3-part series on how to use social media to promote your blog.

You can find Part 1: Instagram along with some general social media tips here: https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/06/23/how-to-use-social-media-to-promote-your-blog/

And Part 2: Pinterest here: https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/06/23/how-to-use-social-media-to-promote-your-blog/

Facebook

The granddaddy of social media especially for those of us of a certain age – Facebook is the social media platform I felt most comfortable with adapting for business use.

The way that I have converted my previously solely private account for promotion of my blog is to add a page. I did this mainly as I really didn’t want to annoy my friends and family by constantly uploading my content to my private account. There’s also the issue I’ve discussed previously of having separate areas for personal and business use, which allows you to keep your business use on brand.

Even though my followers are smallest on my Facebook page at a very modest 22 only, looking at the stats, I expect that my target demographic in terms of age are more likely to be using Facebook than say Instagram or Pinterest even.

There’s also the issue that Instagram and Pinterest are of course visual social-media platforms primarily whereas my content is more article-based. Users of Facebook, I believe, are more likely to be expecting to read more detailed content as opposed to simply looking at an image/quote as on other social media sites.

I also get far more referrals from Facebook to my website than on any other platform save for the WordPress Reader. The click-through rate is much higher leading to higher traffic as a result.

At this stage I’m not sure if that’s because I’m more comfortable with Facebook or because that is where my demographic is most likely to be found or some other reason. It will be interesting to see if the other social media accounts start converting more of my audience into website hits once I get more familiar with these. Having said that, I know that when I’m on Instagram or Pinterest, I rarely go to someone’s website, choosing instead to go over to their Profile only. Really then, I have Instagram in particular purely to raise my brand awareness and not because I expect referrals per se. Pinterest, as I indicated in Part 2, is more of a filing and sorting system for me, although I do of course upload my own content there too.

You still have to grab your reader’s attention but what I like about Facebook is that I can play to my strength (e.g. content rather than images) far better. Catchy titles and excerpts are important here as you’re aiming to get your reader to want to read on enough to click the link to the full article rather than simply scrolling through their feed. Images are still important of course, but less so than Instagram and Pinterest, for my content anyway.

Over the last 7 weeks, I’ve noticed the following have worked for me:

DoDon’t
Set up a Facebook page just for your website/business including links to your website and related social media accounts so that posts to your website are automatically uploaded to your page on Facebook.Expect your Facebook followers to grow overnight – this has been the slowest platform for attracting followers but good for engagement of followers
Match your page to your brand-style on your website and other social media accounts including your logo and a matching cover photo so that people start to become familiar with this.Bombard your followers on your personal Facebook account – I know that there is a feature to invite your friends to follow your account but I have to admit that I really don’t like it when my friends do this to me. Let your friends know that the page is there and if they wish to follow it, they will do because they want to, not because they feel guilt-tripped into doing it!
Remember to review your “Settings” – I have mine on far more accessible features on the basis that I want as many people as possible to see it, unlike my personal account.Make your page a carbon copy of your website – I made this mistake at first and got very little follower interaction as a result. Once I started seeing that photo carousel and slideshow posts as well as videos were popular on my Facebook page, I soon changed my strategy to include more of this just for my Facebook followers.
Familiarise yourself with features such as “Creator” and “Publisher” which I’ve found great (although a little unresponsive in terms of speed), in creating unique slideshows and carousels of photos that have proved quite popular in terms of engagement.If someone contacts you on your page, don’t dawdle with your response if possible – mine is currently 20 minutes, which needs to improve if I want their “badge” as a quick responder.
Do include detail about yourself in the “About” section. I kept this on-brand by simply copying and pasting from my “About Us” section on my website once I’d reviewed it to see if it would work or if it needed tweaking.If you decide to use advertising to promote your page, don’t be afraid to invite those people who engage with your ad to like your page. I felt nervous about this at first, like I was being too pushy, but actually, I had a reasonable conversion rate as a result of doing this.
Use the “Services” feature to set out a basic menu of services and rates for whatever your business/website provides.Facebook has its own analytics page so don’t forget to take a look at those stats too occasionally especially when strategy planning.
If you host any events, e.g. we recently held a WWF Fundraising Event, be sure to add this to the “Events” menu on Facebook to promote the same amongst your current followers.Depending on the type of business user you are, within settings you can set up what tabs feature first on your page so don’t forget to reorder these as to what you think is most likely to draw your followers in.
Consider using advertisements to increase your reach and followers – ads I’m using are approximately £1.00 per day and you can set how long they run for. I even got something like £15.00 worth of free advertising when I first set the page up so definitely use this at least to promote your website and see whether paid advertising in this sense works for you.Don’t worry about being a little informal – at first, I was a bit too formal with my approach to Facebook – when I mellowed a bit and put on some quotes and images rather than just articles, the interaction rate improved.

If you prefer to see how some of these strategies that I’ve started implementing work in practice, head over to:

https://www.facebook.com/HolisticLivingWithCarla/

Remember that these are just my observations on how I’m learning to work with Facebook as a business-user in a relatively short period. No doubt there are other tips and tricks that you find work well for your blog – feel free to add these to the comments below!

This brings this 3-part series to an end. I do hope that you have found something helpful within it. Our next update for bloggers will be available from 21 July when I’ll upload the monthly stats update.

As ever, feel free to share this article if you think others will benefit from its content.

Quit Smoking: Day 1

I’ve had better days!

To be honest, I’ve probably had worse days too, but if I could sum up Day 1 of quitting smoking in one word it’d be: “emotional”.

It feels like a particularly malignant bout of PMS.

So far, I’m about 22 hours into a cold turkey quit. Here’s what’s helped and what hasn’t.

Helpful:

  • Starting the day off with a power yoga session
  • Watching clips on YouTube of others who have been through it
  • Talking to family about it
  • Toothpicks!
  • Positive self-talk
  • Work distractions

Not So Helpful:

  • Work stress!
  • Getting upset and feeling guilty for smoking for so long
  • Being near family that smoke
  • Being in places I would normally smoke

I’ve tried quitting for years, usually with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). I’ve tried the tablets which in fairness did work until I stupidly went on holiday and lit a cig up.

So here I find myself back in this no man’s land; my purgatory which I fully intend to conquer this time around.

I know from past experience that days 2, 3 and 4 can see my emotional state turn from feeling sad to angry and back again pretty quickly so I’m going to really watch and plan for this by doing more of the things that worked today, as well as getting a good night’s sleep and drinking plenty of water.

Good luck to anyone else on their QS journey. One day at a time…

Ready to Unlock the Mysteries of the Tarot?

Ready to Unlock the Mysteries of the Tarot?

Introduction

Tarot decks, in some form or another, have been around for centuries, with some tracing their origins back to the ancient world such as Ancient Egypt, whilst others say that their use didn’t actually originate in a form recognisable today until more like the 15th century, most commonly linked with places such as Italy and France.

Maybe it’s the fact that the origins of the cards themselves cannot fully be explained that continues to create the air of mystery that surrounds tarot reading even now in the 21st century, along with the numerous myths, beliefs and superstitions relating to the subject.

To learn more about the basics of the tarot, feel free to check out the linked article:

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/astrology-divination/tarot-oracle-cards/

What Makes the Tarot So Mysterious?

Whenever I tell someone that I read the tarot, their reaction to this information can be quite fascinating itself. Some are intrigued and express an interest in having a reading, others tell me they think it’s a load of mumbo-jumbo, whilst quite a few inform me that they have heard that the tarot is “evil” and that it’s a type of black magic or satanic which, frankly, really surprises me in this day and age.

But maybe the real secrets of the tarot lie in its simplicity. Whether your question, query or problem is straightforward or more complicated, the images on the cards will always prompt a reaction of some sort. It does not matter if the issue relates to love, career, travel, family, friendship or something else, the images on the cards and their general meanings do not change.

The type of question asked, the deck and spread used as well as the card’s position in the spread, whether it is being read in its upright or reversed meaning and how to read the cards as a whole within the spread i.e. how they relate to one another, do of course change the messages revealed in a reading but the actual meaning of the cards themselves are constant when looked at in their general sense.

So, Can Anyone Work With the Tarot?

What I think makes the cards so mysterious is the belief that only “readers” can understand the messages of the tarot. Whenever I read for someone, I encourage them to be an active part of the reading, rather than passively waiting for the meaning of the cards to be dictated to them.

In this sense, my role as “the reader” is far more rewarding – the person being read for becomes able to read the cards themselves, guided by me on some of the more complex aspects of tarot reading e.g. the card placement, how each card relates to the other cards in the spread, astrological links and any additional information that is specific to the spread and deck being used.

Whenever I’ve used this technique, the querent (person asking the question) becomes able to tell the story revealed in the images on the cards themselves – who knows the querent and their particular situation better than they do? Often they start off visibly nervous and/or anxious about what the cards might tell them but, as the reading progresses, their confidence in understanding the general messages of the tarot also becomes apparent as they realise the power they hold in working with the messages received.

How to Unlock the Mysteries of the Tarot Then?

The quickest way to start getting to grips with the mysteries of the tarot is to buy yourself a deck and begin with the Major Arcana (the cards numbered from Card 0 The Fool to Card 21 The World) and jot down whatever comes to mind when you look at those cards.

You can then compare your own impressions with whatever it says in the guidance book accompanying your deck. Were there any similarities/differences in what you felt or thought when you looked at the cards and what the book says? It doesn’t mean that your insights were “wrong” so it’s important not to second guess yourself at this point. You have just picked up on some individual messages and energies that may well be unique to you. You may wish to start your own “tarot journal” where you pull one card per day from the Major Arcana and see if the messages you receive over time change at all. Jot it all down in your journal. In this way, you build up your knowledge of the traditional meanings of the cards at the same time as learning to listen and trust your own intuitive messages. I still get new messages coming through with decks and spreads I’ve used for years and that really is part of the mystery of the tarot.

Want to Learn More?

I suggest working with the Major Arcana first as these tend to represent more obvious energies or situations that we are familiar with than the Minor Arcana at first glance.

However, I do understand that many people prefer to be “taught” how to read the cards and their energies. As a result, I’ve decided to begin working on a Free E-Book which can be used to help direct you through the mysteries of the Major Arcana and, if this proves popular, this can be expanded on to include the Minor Arcana also.

If this is something that you think could be of interest to you, leave me a comment as I intend to make the first copy of this Free E-Book available to those who express interest in it first and foremost by setting up a regular, members-only, email subscription just for those who sign up for this exclusive content.

So, Are you Ready to Unlock the Mysteries of the Tarot?