Oracle of Ybor: To make positive changes in your life, you’ll have to ignite your own great fire of 1908

Plus, stop doubting yourself at work.

Oracle of Ybor: To make positive changes in your life, you’ll have to ignite your own great fire of 1908

Dear Oracle,

I’m struggling to stay motivated and break off unhealthy habits that I feel prevent me from moving my life in a positive direction. Do you have any insight that may help me spark inspiration? —Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Cards: Eight of wands reversed, three of cups, judgment, queen of wands. 

Changes, you’re going to need a little help from your friends (And family, and possibly partner). When pulling cards, the three of cups and eight of wands reversed came out together, meaning you should take them together. The eight of wands in my deck shows a woman with a scythe about to cut down eight thin trees; it’s a card for razing.

In 1908, a spark from one roof in Ybor landed on another, and before long, 17 blocks were torched.

You have to be your own Great Ybor Fire. The spark from cutting one of these habits out will help you start to burn the rest. I read reversed cards as things that aren’t happening in the immediate future, so getting started and cutting out these habits will take some work, maybe six months or more.

The three of cups, the twin to eight of wands, represents your friends. They’re going to be the arsonists you can count on.

Creative Loafing Tampa Bay is gauging interest in seeing more of the Ybor Oracle. Send your feedback and questions to [email protected] (SUBJ: “Ybor Oracle”)

The judgment card is a strong home card. It can be both your house and the familial home. Since I don’t know your habits’ specifics, I do have to wonder how they’re playing out in your “home” life. Are you wanting to break these habits in order to create the home you want? Do you want to change your role or a relationship within your family or origin? Or, perhaps, do you have a strong relationship with your family who can support you during this time?

The queen of wands is also a character that can help. Court cards are often people in our lives, and queen of wands takes zero shit. They’re both “mama” and “bear” in equal respects; they’re nurturing and healing and won’t hesitate to body slam a motherfucker on your behalf. They’re the perfect person to have in your corner as you move through.

My suggestion for a first step is to talk. Talk to your friends. Talk to your family if you think they’ll be open. Whoever the queen of wands is (a partner, family member, therapist) talk to them. Be honest about your struggles and your wants, both about your goals and how you’d like to get there. It can be difficult for us to ask for people for our needs, but these are strong ties. They’ll be there to help you along the way.

You should be proud of yourself. What you’re doing isn’t easy.

At his trial, Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living”—2,000 years later, Malcolm X responded with, “An examined life is painful.” I think both men are right. It’s so challenging to be honest with ourselves, to look inside and see what we are. And it’s incredibly brave to acknowledge we’d like to change. This is no small feat. I’m proud of you, and I hope you get all the support you need during this time.

Please write back; I’d love to hear how everything goes.

Dear Oracle,

My new career role is stressful, but I feel like I’m doing my best, and that this shit comes naturally, but I’m doubting myself. Am I doing a good job? —Unsure and Insecure

Cards: Three of pentacles, page of swords, three of wands. 

I think you’re being hard on yourself, Unsure. Page of swords is someone who is trying to find out knowledge—the secret to success—but is also tinged with a critical eye. If impostor syndrome had a card, it would be this. I get it. It’s hard not to doubt yourself, especially in a year where everything feels uncertain. At this point, would anyone be surprised if Florida broke off from the mainland and sank like a battered booze-cruise by the end of 2020? I think not.

However, there’s nothing in this spread that suggests that you aren’t doing your job well. Three of pentacles means working symbiotically, all hands on deck. It indicates that you’re an equal team player. It also suggests that your co-workers would help you out if you’re struggling or questioning. You’re very much part of a team. The three of wands comes with a message that’s a super drag to us in the 21st century: be patient. Yes, the world feels like it’s ending, and waiting seems dumb, but trust me on this. You’ve put so much effort into this job. You’ve planted those seeds. Now, you just have to watch them grow. Cultivate them—keep doing what you’re doing!—but everything is already set in motion. Just keep on doing what you’re doing.

You’re doing great. Really, you are. Ignore the critical voice in your head—it’s a freeloading liar who’s jealous. And if you need help, just ask. You have people who will step up, without hesitation. Good luck!

Where do the chickens in Ybor sleep? —A Concerned Friend.

The chickens of Ybor are the local gods of the place, thus above the abilities of tarot. The tarot helps people think in archetypes. The Chickens are archetypes. When the world was formed, the chickens were here, scratching and pecking whatever crawled out the ooze so those specks of primordial dust would learn who ran this place. They are both benevolent and barbarous. They have offered protection to drunk strangers and inspired mafia capos to become agents of their wrath. They were here at the creation of time and will remain here until the world’s last light is snuffed out. Then, they will sleep.

In the meantime, if you wish to pay homage to their shrine or pay penance, you can drop off your sacrifice at the big bush next to the train tracks on Sixth Avenue and 20th Street. They like leafy greens, veggies, and fruit. They also accept Venmo.

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