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How I Use Tarot and Astrology in My Sobriety Toolkit
My book is a Virgo!
Welcome! I’m Tawny, an advice columnist better known as “The Sober Sexpert” and author of Dry Humping: A Guide to Dating, Relating, and Hooking Up Without the Booze. I’m here to empower you to find your *intrinsic* courage without booze—regardless of your relationship status—one date at a time.
My book comes out in 11 days! Ahhhhh! All preorders are 25% off at Barnes & Noble until the end of the day today.
I’m also excited to share that The Dry Humping Start Guide is officially ready! Submit your preorder receipt here to receive your PDF filled with the following:
sober socializing tips
queer and sober 101
autographed book sticker sent to you via snail mail
The only thing I have to believe in to use Tarot and astrology is myself.
When I learned that my forthcoming book will launch on September 19th, my first thought was: My book is a Virgo!
Tarot and astrology were two of my many pandemic hobbies, so I’m now officially an amateur astrology and Tarot nerd. However, I’m still learning what Virgo “means” and how I incorporate this information into my learning about addiction, harm reduction, sexuality, feminism, philosophy, psychoanalysis, writing and publishing, and other topics I study. And write about it, of course.
I began by taking astrology classes from David Odyssey. Pop culture references are a big part of his teaching methods, so my fluency in memes and nostalgia helps me learn about planets and houses and birth charts and all the other things.
I also study Tarot with Mariana Louis AKA Persephone’s Sister. She offers a Jungian approach to the cards, which tickles my intellectual senses. She applies Jungian concepts like complexes, archetypes, extroversion and introversion, shadow, individuation, and much more to card interpretations. I never thought I’d say the following sentence, but here we go: I’m super into learning about Tarot and depth psychology simultaneously.
My biggest takeaway from studying under these amazing humans is that, at least for me, Tarot and astrology mean whatever I want them to mean.
Some folks plan events around planetary placements, while others look to the cards to predict their future. I use Tarot and astrology as items in my sobriety toolkit. Here’s how.
How I Use Tarot Cards in Sobriety
These tools assist in introspection by offering a new prism through which I can consider any fact or feeling. Then, I can meditate on or journal about that newfound perspective, which often helps me feel more balanced.
I treat Tarot cards as treasured art, prompts that help me contextualize or process my thoughts. How do I feel when looking at this imagery? What symbols jump out to me? What associations do I make with those symbols? Where else have I seen that symbol before?
For example, The Hermit card (above) is assigned to Virgo. This image shows a wise sage guided by a lantern. They hold a walking stick so we can assess that perhaps they’re on a journey illuminated by said lantern. You can interpret this card in countless ways. Maybe follow your light or walk carefully along this path. Take it a step further: What ignites your flame? Which tools help you move forward? Like art, there are no wrong ways to interpret a Tarot card. The way it makes you feel is all that matters.
So, to me, The Hermit means identifying my own lantern.
The title, Hermit, also implies self-preservation. I’m learning that promoting a book takes every ounce of energy I have. This card reminds me to move slowly, stay focused, and allow the light to show me what I can and can’t control.
I also associate The Hermit with Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Guitarist and founder of the band Jimmy Page even dressed as The Hermit in their classic 1976 concert film, The Song Remains the Same. The Hermit reminds me how happy rock n roll makes me. When I feel overwhelmed about book stuff, I can always put on my noise-canceling headphones and rock out!
Astrology, Virgo Season, and My Book
I apply the same interpretation process to astrology.
My book comes out on September 19th AKA the tail end of Virgo season, which lasts from August 23 to September 22nd this year. Common Virgo traits include organization, perfectionism, and logic. Astrologically, Mercury rules Virgo. Mercury is often known for its communication (or lack of communication when in retrograde.)
So, what does this have to do with publishing a book? I mean… nothing. But considering the astrological context of my book’s birthday can be one more tool to keep me relatively sane during the publishing process.
When you take the astrology out of the situation, organization and clear communication are excellent things to keep in mind when promoting a book. I have countless spreadsheets to organize the countless marketing ideas floating around in my head.
During these book promo days, I also practice clear communication, which means more than just speaking clearly. It means knowing exactly what I want, asking for it, and remembering that compromise and flexibility with new ideas are essential. I try my best to make sure that everyone is on the same page before ending a Zoom meeting. Maybe she’s born with it; maybe it’s Mercury.
People often say, “I don’t believe in astrology” or “Tarot cards can’t predict the future.” I usually ask them why they feel that way and what associations they’ve made with these practices in the past.
On the other hand, astrology and/or Tarot are fundamental to many people’s spiritual practices, and I acknowledge and admire those beliefs. It’s not about “believing” that either practice will hand me all the answers or tell me clearly what the future will bring. I use Tarot and astrology because I see them both as devices that help me understand myself (and others!) better. The only thing I have to believe in to use Tarot and astrology is myself.
My fiancé is an atheist anarchist, but he graciously humors my Tarot hobby. “I watch grown men bash each other’s brains in while running around with a pig epidermis on painted grass. A little self-reflection through Medieval, weird-looking cards is not really that strange,” he so lovingly puts it. (In case his vivid description isn’t clear, he’s describing American football 🤣).
It’s helpful to get out of our heads. Finding fresh perspectives can be truly enlightening, whether you’re promoting a book on Dry Humping, entering the sober dating scene, or going through your first sober breakup.
What tools do you use to spark new ideas? Do you relate to the astrological traits assigned to your Zodiac sign? Ever had a kick-ass Tarot reading that helped you work through some tough shit? Tell us about it!
P.S. This issue was edited by Irina Gonzalez