Oracle of Ybor: I'm burned out and torn about what might be my karmic duty

A special Tampa Pride on the River reading.

click to enlarge Pair Waxing Gibbous with the nostalgic love of Six of Cups, and you can see what was important to you when you were younger. - Photo viajosemanuel246/Adobe
Photo viajosemanuel246/Adobe
Pair Waxing Gibbous with the nostalgic love of Six of Cups, and you can see what was important to you when you were younger.
Dear Oracle, I have been doing this criminal Justice and prison work for trans prisoners for a while, and I’m feeling super burnt out. I feel like part of it is that I haven’t been engaging with my creative stuff enough. I have been thinking about shifting to take what I have learned about the world in this space and turn it into a play or a story. Should I try this and possibly try a creative career?—LOLoosing My Shit

Cards: Waxing Gibbous, Six of Cups, Eight of Swords, Wheel of Fortune (all reversed)

Dear LOL, I’m so sorry you’re experiencing burnout at your job. Over the past two years, I’ve answered many questions about burnout, and the Eight of Swords is a common card that pops up. It’s a card that represents the type of depression where you feel like there is no escape. You’re stuck here. You aren’t—at least Tarotly speaking. You can break out of your sword cage if need be.

You mentioned that this burnout might be connected to creative neglect, and I agree. The Waxing Gibbous in my deck (Uusi’s “Pagan Otherworlds”) is a card about re-prioritizing and taking stock of where you’re at and where you want to be. Pair it with the nostalgic love of Six of Cups, and you can see what was important to you when you were younger. Was it your creativity? Did you use to write stories or plays in your youth or college? Did you journal or write poetry when you had emotions to navigate?
That feeling of being trapped and that childlike longing comes to a head with the Wheel of Fortune. My deck shows a bear, a lion, and a stag looking up at the wheel, which suggests tapping into your wild, unbridled side and connecting to your truest self. This will help you feel connected to your fate as Fortuna’s wheel spins.

However, the Wheel of Fortune also means karma and duty. Many people working in human rights do end up burned out because their work does feel like a karmic duty—and it may feel “selfish” to leave it.

If you do leave your criminal justice work, there’s a chance that you’ll feel quite a bit of guilt from it, like you’re abandoning your duty. I don’t know if this job is your fate or if a creative path is one for you, but I don’t think you have to choose just yet.

I do suggest you start writing your stories or your play immediately. You might have to play around your schedule a bit to figure out when you work best (before or after work)
But try to commit time daily, even if it’s just half an hour to start with. If you have saved up vacation days, start taking one a month solely for creative projects. (I liked taking Mondays off.) Guard this time.

At the same time, I also recommend therapy and what Julia Cameron called “morning pages,” which is when you write three pages by hand every morning. It’s essential to do all three pages because it’s hard to bullshit for more than a page and a half. What starts out as bitching about your job suddenly becomes a subconscious dive into your motivations to serve, which is helpful when trying to rediscover your wild heart.
You might decide to quit your job; you may not, but go ahead and dive into the creative deep end. Your soul could use the swim.

Dear Oracle, I feel like I’m only living half of my life. My partner and I have been thinking of moving to NYC to be closer to certain industries and creative people. I would love to know if moving there will create more space for my full self and help me to become more myself. (I want to be the first non-binary underwear model for Calvin Klein/be an underwear and swimsuit model for work.)—Craving Creativity

Cards: Six of Swords, Page of Cups, New Moon

Dear Creativity, while there is no specific “non-binary underwear model” card in Tarot, the half-naked Page of Cups, described as a “male Venus,” might be the closest thing to it. The Page of Cups is a card of love and creativity, birthed from the ocean, and does occupy this space in-between this world and the Divine. Court cards are often people, and I think this lover who breathes creativity is the side of yourself that you’re missing.

Newness is the theme of this spread. The New Moon card welcomes you to the dark of creation, that black sea where all ideas spring forth. It’s a time for new beginnings and transformations, which is what you’re looking for, and you might find that relocating to NYC is just the new beginning that you need.

And while the journey is necessary, it’s important to keep a level head about things. The Six of Swords can encounter some chopping waters, so you need to be realistic about things, which means if a modeling deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Find a lawyer you trust and go over any contracts you get with them. Understand that for many creative fields (music, modeling, writing, etc.) the people on the top make their money because they are selling you as a product. People may say some fucked-up things about your body so if you’ve ever struggled with body dysmorphia in the past, modeling might exacerbate it. If you can afford a therapist, I highly recommend getting one before you start.

The Six of Swords is also a card that shows the weight of such a journey. Finding another part of yourself, whatever that looks like is a heavy thing. This won’t be an easy journey, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start it.

Journeys of self-discovery, no matter how well mapped, rarely go the way we expect. Things may pop up that are uncomfortable but necessary. When you’re in the black ocean of creativity, try and enjoy that inky swim. You never know what will emerge.

About The Author

Caroline DeBruhl

Caroline DeBruhl is a writer, tarot-reader, and wedding officiant living in Tampa. She follows The Dark Mother, Hekate, a primordial goddess of many things, including crossroads, ghosts, liminal spaces, as well as being the bringer of light.
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