When I think of the term “family” I can feel the emotions stirring up inside me: love, resentment, acceptance, rejection, vengeance, acquiescence. Family is complicated for all of us no matter how stable or dysfunctional. They often offer our greatest lessons in how to manage the intersections of love and self. Family carries both guilt and pain, but also immense joy and gratitude. This concept seems so simple and yet it is a shockingly complex, loaded term especially when “family” is used more to exclude than include. And of course, this is the theme for the week.
I grew up as the only child of a marriage between a second wife and a man who had three kids, one of whom was adopted. My dad was agnostic and my mom was Catholic. My dad was white (half-siblings are also white) and my mom was Mexican. Regardless of the fact that I was my dad’s youngest and I was my mom’s only child, there would inevitably be a gap of at least 12 years between my siblings, cousins, and me. My big brothers were too old and busy to stand up to bullies and sexual harassers for me, my sister and cousins were too consumed in their adult lives to teach me how to do my hair and trust feminine friendships. I had to do all of that on my own and for better or for worse, it was just me and my parents – our own little unit.
No matter how kind or generous those family members were, very few of them could ever relate to what it was like to grow up like me. Very few of them have been able to see my true vulnerability instead of the shiny, well-rehearsed grooves I tell in public. Only my beloveds know the truth of the traumas, miracles, and madness my parents and I had endured together. There was a time in my life that I would have professed “family means everything”. But when I saw the way parents had been misjudged by those who knew nothing of their true courage and sensitivity, I began to reshape my ideas of what “family” actually means to me.
Part of the reason this post is so late is that it wasn’t until I started sitting with the emotion of this week’s reading that I really began to articulate why “family” brings up these feelings of loneliness and grief and above all, bitterness. I was forced to confront the pierced and bleeding heart of an imaginative child who was hurt by someone who was assigned a role of “family”. I have difficulty trusting the grown-ups who could have encouraged me instead of using misaligned loyalties to trample on the truth of my little family. And while there are some members of my family that I would enthusiastically choose always as my family – who resonate with me, understand me better than most – that loneliness, that longing for deeper, broader connections made me gravitate more toward chosen family as my default mode.
There is healing in being able to choose our own companions for our journey, especially when we were neglected and abused by those we didn’t get to choose. My healing was facilitated entirely through the love and support of my chosen family before all others. That means my committed beloveds, my parents and my children. That means my old navigation team, my brother, a cousin, my leather brothers in California, my fellow survivor advocates in the kink scene. They include the men and women I’d fallen in love with so easily, the crushes that became tight friends, and the mentors who offered genuine love and respect for the epiphanies we brought out in each other. They were there when I was at my worst and they got me through it each and every time.
Because that is what family is for. Marginalized communities know this well. Because what we call chosen family is also another word for community care – it is about healthy interdependence, about creating a network of compassionate action, a comfort clan of hope. Not to blame or reject. Not to humiliate or control. Not to even demand and obey. But to nurture and work alongside the intense currents of who we are, to help us achieve our dreams together.
With each new person who enters my family, my heart grows to hold space for them. These are the people who exchanged a bit of their soul with me – trusted me with their vulnerability and parts of their story. We created moments together that were woven into our stories, moments that only belong to us – laughter shared on a mountaintop, a kiss in the rain, a snowy April morning before a retreat, sharing a cigarette outside during another fire drill – I count many of them as family still to this day because my love doesn’t actually fade, it just transforms into something more aligned with the connection.
My heart embraces the pain of those who have been threatened, beaten, manipulated, coerced, abused, neglected, and endangered by their families of origin. The people whose safety was earned within communities bound by shared vulnerabilities and common passions. “Chosen family” gives us room to hold boundaries with family who might interfere with our safety and offers protection to those who are still tender with loneliness. It is inclusive, it is authentic, it is real.
When we expand our ideas about who we consider family we make room for everyone to belong in some way, somewhere. That message rang out loud and clear this week through the Healing Light tarot. We may face some difficult times ahead, but the journey will be easier when we call in those who speak to our hearts, who lend courage to our spirit, and who genuinely make life worth living.
See more below…
Where we are this week
Seven of Pentacles
This week we’re starting from a place of weariness. We’re taking a break to assess all that we’ve accomplished. At first all we see are the broken promises, the disappointments, the faded hopes, but if we look more closely, we see that the areas that we’ve cleared are now starting to bear fruit. As we try to figure out what to do with the broken pieces of the systems we have, the hopes we’ve been trying to nurture into being, we need to take a step back and see both the scope of what is left to accomplish, but also what has already been manifested into being. This card is a sign of encouragement that our perseverance with our dreams will make all the difference – growth depends on our commitment to our vision.
Growth is up to us.
Messages from our Guides
Last week our guides were telling us about hope – the Star, which is the card that follows this one, my favorite – the Tower – the catalyst for change. Our guides are not messing about this week. they are telling us it is time to vacate those old ideas of self and to shift into the new. Our old systems are crumbling – whether it be systems of inequity that prop up inherent imbalances and injustices or the systems within our own lives that prop up beliefs that keep us locked in fear, we are being told that it will all come crumbling down and soon. If you had any hesitation before – now is the time to gather the last of your things and vacate the false safety of beliefs that have been confining us instead of exalting us.
Cathartic change is coming.
Messages from Lady Gaia
Ten of Cups
This week Lady Gaia is celebrating the families we have been creating for ourselves. Whether it be work families who can support each other during difficult essential work or our chosen families of spouses, metamours, BFFs, and adopted adult children who are in need of the safety, security, and unconditional love of family. By untethering ourselves from a definition of family that limits and restricts the experience of human love, we are encouraged to call in those families we need most right now – to expand our ideas of who family is until one day we start considering any human an extended member of our family – because that’s how Lady Gaia sees us – her children, her family, all loved within her heart.
Expand our ideas of who we consider “family”
Messages from our Ancestors
Ten of Pentacles (R)
Consider what we want our legacy to be. Is it solely rooted in abundance for our families, glory for a limited number of people? Or do we want something more? Do we want to leave behind a new way of being? Our ancestors are asking us to consider what it worth including in our legacy. For centuries it has been defined by wealth, power, influence. How did that work out for our ancestors? So focused on those material blessings, so satisfied they were with inequity that they participated and experienced countless atrocities generation after generation all to hoard and protect these things that only matter while we’re breathing. Our ancestors ask us to look beyond our insular smallness and consider instead leaving behind a legacy of expansion, inclusion, and compassion.
What shall our legacy be?
Messages from our Future Selves
King of Wands (r)
This is the dark side of the fiery masculine spirit. Our future selves are warning us against giving in too much about what we view as “power”. Old ways of thinking relied on controlling people via subjugation, coercion, shame, silencing. What are new ways we can model the leadership we expect to see from ourselves and those around us? The best leaders for our future are those who bring people together around a common cause instead of those who divide people with violence and the rhetoric of force. Pay attention to who we give our energy to, including those internalized messages that reinforce toxic masculine power and control.
Who do we reward with our attention?
Message from Mother Mary
Three of Cups
This week needs to be a celebration of “our people” – the people that we include in our circles of trust. This includes our families, our close friends, our mentors. Take a look at the people who are encouraging you. Holding you accountable. Loving you with all their might. These are the folks who could use some extra love this week. They are your kindred souls and by being there for them, by creating intentionally safe communities together, we really can change the world. Do something to prop up the folks in our lives who keep us going, keep us strong, keep us faithful to our authenticity.
Celebrate kindred souls.
Rise of compassionate leadership.
Six of Swords
Rite of Passage.
Whenever the Empress shows up, it is a nod to one of my earth guides, who passed away in the past year. He gave worship from the seat of his power with the divine masculine – acknowledging my place as a goddess, mother, lawyer, queen, sister, daughter, divine being. It never took away from his power to acknowledge these things about me. It never sullied his enjoyment of life, his accomplishments, or his relationships with others to represent me on his alter or offer prayers for me each morning or to say my name while drumming with others. It is in those small cracks of life that the Empress, the Divine Feminine, lives. She lives in the cracks of our lives, the constant undercurrent – for she is a reminder that she stands at the crossroads of life and death – she embodies the mysteries of the unknown, the dark areas of our lives. And no matter how often we have tried throughout history to stamp her out, she endures because she’s primal and uncontrollable. She is the whisper on the lips at the edge of orgasm and the last name we call for at death. The first kisses we receive are from her lips and her hands hold us in loving grace as we depart. The divine feminine is eternal and all that we are experiencing now is the growing awareness that she too will always thrive within us.
We are arriving at a rite of passage, a gateway to a new way of thinking, a new chapter in our lives, a new adventure waiting to be lived. We each arrive in our own way, through our own rituals, practices, and beliefs, but we are all slowly arriving at the point of new return. And as we stand on these shores, as we have faced our trials, the people we need most around us are the ones who have kept us going. But we cannot stay the same just because of them. We all must grow up at some point and move forward with our own lives. For when we choose to cross the threshold, to say yes to the opportunities that await us, then we will finally have the tools we need to accept the bounty waiting for us on the other side of our lives. Truly vacate that Tower, take only what we need, carry the love we have for the people who have gotten us this far, and pass through the next steps on our journey to our highest selves.
May we find comfort in the eternal love of those who are held in our hearts as family. May we provide the kind of acceptance, humanity, and integrity that we expect, creating a new legacy for ourselves. And as the challenges of the Tower present themselves in our lives, may we find the courage to trust, faith to share, and the strength to be vulnerable in the new world we are co-creating together.
I am with you always in love 💖
So may it be.
I offer A VARIETY OF READINGS & REIKI SESSIONS that can:
- Reboot relationship(s)
- Check-in with the body’s chakras
- Uncover hidden talent & treasure
- Clear emotional blockages
- Channel messages of Divine Love
- Step up as a leader
- Harmonize past lives