Bluestockings is one year old today! Before you do the math back to when we opened in April, you should know that I'm counting two different birthdays -- there's the "how long we've been selling shit" birthday and the "how long the business has been in my head/real" birthday.
Bluestockings has had both a website and a twitter account since August 18, 2014. The blog got going soon after, there was a small crowdfunding campaign, and honestly, many of you have been around since those early days. Y'all are amazing.
Last fall, at my local City Hall with the all-important "Doing Business As" certificate #EpicSelfie
So I've been thinking about how to do a first birthday blog post. A lot of folks do a "here's what I've learned" type blog, but I've already done that. (See the How to Fuck Up as a First Time Girlboss series.)
The next option was to do a huge topical post about something lingerie-ish, but I'm one of those people who likes to spend New Year's Eve journaling and reflecting, so it felt really weird to try and make the first birthday about anything other than the business.
Eventually, it hit me that I should just do a birthday tarot post. I know some of you are probably thinking
But honestly, it was a no-brainer for me personally, since this is the kind of thing I do in my personal life, and also since I'm pretty open about sharing Bluestockings-related tarot spreads on Instagram and Twitter. Also, there's a two-part lingerie & zodiac series coming up (which many of you seem excited for).
So here goes nothing!
A few disclaimers:
1. This post isn't going to delve into Tarot 101. Those resources are readily available via Google. For those of you who want to learn more, I'd recommend checking out the alternative, super queer Little Red Tarot (Beth is the best). For basics, check out Biddy Tarot's guide to the Major and Minor Arcana (aka, the two sections of the 78 cards that make up a tarot deck).
2. I use tarot as a psychological/reflective tool. I don't use it to predict the future; I think that, in many ways, it tells you what you already know and helps you dig beneath the surface and get past all the gunk that's keeping you from seeing shit -- the bad shit and the good shit.
So, that said, let's dig in:
I used my So Below tarot deck and a Happy Birthday tarot spread originally written by Beth of Little Red Tarot, which I slightly adapted. This spread suggests things to leave behind and take with you as you move forward, as well as tools that will be useful in the coming year, and some birthday resources for you on the birthday itself!
Before even getting into the cards, I will just say that as I flipped the first four cards over, I progressively freaked out more and more. Four out of seven cards in a spread being Major Arcana? That's unusual.
1: What to leave behind in the past year (far left card)
I love this particular iteration of The Hermit: many hermits are super serious, but this woman is luxuriating in a bath. #goals
The Hermit, true to her name, is all about introspection and soul searching. My particular brand of girlbossing has definitely brought its fair share of introspection, and it's also been an isolating enterprise -- sometimes painfully so. In many ways, I've learned a lot from self-imposed solitude. It's been great to recharge away from academia and my graduate program. But I've been wanting to seek out more professional support and engagement, and this card is a reminder that, while alone time is great, I'm entering a phase in my life and business where I can do with less solitude and more community.
2: A lesson you learned last year, to carry with you (second from left)
This deck has my favorite iteration of The Hierophant that I've ever seen, and it's really encouraging to see her come up as a lesson that has been learned and that will be carried into next year.
Let me briefly share why that's relevant -- in traditional decks, like the Rider-Waite, the Hierophant is literally the Pope: a figure of organized religion and tradition. Other times, he is figured as a wise man or a teacher. As someone with a fraught religious and academic background, The Hierophant sometimes feels like this foreboding patriarchal figure: a meeting of the most triggery parts of my past, and definitely not something I want to bring to the business.
But not this Hierophant. This Hierophant is a wise woman, first off. She is a businesswoman, but also -- notably -- a healer, a helper, an educator: a mix of all three. She can be interpreted as working with tradition, but in her own way, and on her own terms.
Starting Bluestockings was all about taking control over my professional life, wresting my agency back from the academy and forging my own path. I've also, much more quietly (because it's just not applicable to the business) been redirecting and rediscovering my own spiritual path. Continuing to take charge and #girlboss my way through, while working with others and with the goal of helping others, is a great encouragement. Also, the Hierophant is my birth card, natch.
3: The next thing you will learn (second from right)
Welp, there it is.
The broken mug on the floor really says it all, doesn't it? The Tower is about upheaval and sudden change: something that sweeps in, unexpectedly, and clears everything out.
The Tower is often thought of as one of the "bad" cards of the tarot, but I'm one of those weird people who (weirdly) likes this card. Call it pessimism, call it being Midwestern (e.g. always having a tornado kit in the basement for when disaster strikes), but I figure that life is full of Tower moments and the only way to get through them is to put your head down and get through. Eventually, you come out the other end.
The blessing of Tower moments is that they are a clearing away, a refocusing, an opportunity to build something better. If anything, it's a reminder to not take anything for granted, that the most important parts of me can't be destroyed, and that anything can be rebuilt.
4: The theme of the year ahead (furthest card on the right)
Strength is a really great follow-up to the Tower. Also, it's one of my favorite cards. Usually, Strength is represented by a woman with a lion (I've seriously considered getting this as a tattoo). This deck features a completely different iteration, but I really like the theme this illustration taps into: endurance. (I also appreciate seeing an elder on a card! So rare.)
In many ways, it feels like running is an apt representation of both the Strength card and running a business. It's a long game: there are no shortcuts, no easy routes. If you want to build your mileage, build your speed, build your strength, you've just gotta put in the time and the effort and fucking do it.
I feel like Strength is already a major theme for me and for the business; goodness knows it comes up in tarot readings often enough. ("Just do it" is also my perpetually unhelpful advice whenever anyone asks me how to start a business.) But apparently, we're gonna get pretty serious, Strength and Bluestockings and me. That's cool. I'm down with that.
5 & 6: Today -- something to celebrate, something to do (two cards above)
Initially, this pair of cards did not seem to work together.
The 8 of Wands is all about high energy and fast movement, the timing being right for a situation to come to fruition. The energy represented in this card is raw and powerful. It's also being directed by the woman: it's all about what you do with the energy.
Conversely, the Knight of Pentacles is all about slow, methodical work: about things coming to fruition upon hard labor. Plant the seed; eventually, it'll grow. Sit in the garden and work some more, but the seed does its thing.
I've been feeling like a very Knight of Pentacles-y business owner this summer -- seeing him up to his elbows in dirt, sitting in a garden, really resonates with me: just sitting with Bluestockings, doing the work, waiting for shit to happen. Waiting for orders that trickle in; waiting for press that falls through; waiting, waiting, waiting for the business to grow. Sometimes, it feels like staring at water, waiting for it to boil.
At first glance, the energies in these cards seemed oddly -- hilariously -- opposite. But perhaps, today, they're actually coming together: the hard labor of the Knight of Pentacles paying off with some high energy momentum from the 8 of Wands. We'll see.
7: A birthday message (card below)
It might be the Queen of Wands who brings the 8 of Wands and the Knight of Pentacles together. She's a determined, vibrant character who can unite all kinds of energy and direct it positively towards creative enterprises.
I love ending with a Queen. Queens always resonate with me strongly (though when I started Bluestockings, Kings started showing up like they'd suddenly been invited to a party I didn't know I was having, so do with that what you will).
The Queen of Wands is pretty baller. Usually, I don't associate the Queen of Wands with caretaking/healing/mentoring-- I tend to put her more in the creative fireball/entrepreneurial spirit camp. But in this card, she's engaging in her community the way I seek to engage y'all with Bluestockings.
She's listening. She's engaged. She's concerned. She's there -- present -- in the moment. What's evident is the fire in her spirit that's full on ready to go, no matter what she's doing.
That's my reminder: to be warm, engaged, passionately involved. To remember the people (leave the hermit'ing for another day!). Sometimes, my earth-bound, Pentacles-driven Capricorn self can get caught up in the work and in the tending and forget the fire that started all of this.
Stay focused. Stay present.
P.S. On the 18th of every month, we donate 18% of our proceeds to a different charity. This month, we are donating to Planned Parenthood. Check out our New Arrivals or Sale and help us give back to an important organization! #StandWithPP #1in5