An Offering of Light in the Cards

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A past, present, future and earthly influence reading with a New Orleans Vodoo tarot deck

I was given my first tarot deck in college, a tradition set of cards with 22 major arcana card and four suits – wands, cups, pentacles, swords. This deck was used for my first reading. I was a confused, uncertain third year student looking for some sort of answer to where I was and where I was going. The reader was a Queer person of color which made me feel safe and comfortable. They welcomed me into their college apartment and set up a space for me to receive what the reading had to reveal. They decided on a past, present and future spread.

Here were the results – Past: The Star, Present: The Tower, Future: The High Priestess

This reading has more significant meaning to me now then it did back then. At the time, I was in the center of The Tower surrounded my own chaos of depression and drug use. In the past, I had been The Star, an innocent, celestial child with hope that college would offer me a new life. I didn’t know then that in the future I would begin to understand that I walk in the deep, spiritual presence of the High Priestess as someone who conjures healing for themselves and for others.

Soon after I received my first deck, I started reading my own cards and in the last few years, I’ve been reading others. When people come to me for a reading, they either have a question, want help with the answer to a problem or just bring themselves and see what the cards have to tell them. I select simple spreads for those new to readings and more complicated ones for those with more experience with readings, especially for folks who have had readings from me before. I also pick the spread based on what the person is coming to me for.

When I do a reading, I go on my instinct and allow the images of the cards to show me what the universe is trying to communicate to the person I am reading. I own a few decks – a voodoo deck, a Hello Kitty Deck, a Santeria deck – and pick out the deck I feel is best for the reading. Some readings are simply me tell the reader what I see. Others are conversations where the reader gives me information to create a larger narrative.

I love this work. I love helping someone see a situation differently so they can begin their own healing. I love to assist in creating a bridge between where they are and where they aspire to be. I love sharing the skill of reading tarot with my friends and loved ones and now I am ready to offer my readers to the community.

Here are my prices:

Half hour readings: $37      

Full hour reading: $50

Any additional card: $6

Healing Crystals: $3

Parties: $27 per person for a maximum of 10 people

Workshops on tarot readings, crystals and spirituality: $250 for 90 minutes

For those in crisis without funds, pay with white flowers and one white votive candle. 

I ask for payment via cash, venmo or paypal prior to you reading. Readings can take place at your residence, depending on the cost of transportation, or in my home in Brooklyn. I also offer readings over the phone.    

Tips gladly accepted! 

I’ll be giving scheduling priority to people of color, Queer identified folk, gender non-conforming and Trans folk.  

If you would like to schedule a reading or want more information email me at ayoung536@gmail.com with the subject “Tarot Reading.” You can also find and message me on Facebook or follow my Instagram @blackunicornrise. 

 

Testimonials

My reading from Ashley was everything I didn’t know I needed. During my half hour reading, Ashley struck a perfect balance between showing kindness and compassion while also being honest and straight forward. They did not just parrot back what I wanted to hear but instead gave me insight into how to tackle the obstacles I am currently facing. There was palpable connection and insight. Since my reading, I have begun soul searching in a way I have been wanting to do for years. Ashley’s reading showed me where to start. I don’t know what Ashley is charging for readings now but whatever the cost, it’s a bargain because they the real deal.

Autumn

Ashley has been such a wonderful help to me, when it comes to accessing spiritual guidance. Their tarot readings have always offered me much needed insight into  many situations in my life and spiritual journey. They have such a strong interpretation of the cards and their meaning, and have always been so loving and comforting in how they deliver the cards’ messages. They also were able to contact my grandmother for me, who is someone who continues to be a very important person in my life, despite her passing. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced, to be able to hear Ashley describe my grandmother’s spirit and the light in which she was surrounded.

– Karuna

I was struggling with a serious romantic fork in the road. Ashley was awesome enough to offer me a reading to give me some clarity. And along with their interpretation and advice, it really helped to bring the situation into perspective, and I realized what it was I was actually looking for. They ended up helping me to choose the path, and person, that was right for me

– Casidi

This is more than a reading.
It’s a conversation with a interpreter of the cards and a seer of the spirits. This was very different from previous readings I received. There was no timer and I wasn’t sitting in silence for someone to talk at me. With every card they pulled I was given a thorough explanation and I was given a moment to reflect on how the cards reflected my life and were related to my journey. They listened to me with a respect for my journey and their full undivided attention and made me feel safe to talk about my life and the concerns I had. Every word I told them allowed for a clearer interpretation of the cards and their meaning to my life. I was also told everything I needed to know and nothing I couldn’t handle, which was really nice. They were also as clear as they possibly could be, there were no vague riddles to solve, simply the answer to my question. As someone who has been duped before by fakes in the past, it is a truly healing experience to be in the presence of a reader, interpreter, and spiritous who is not only serious but responsible about this craft and called to this work. I recommend Ashley to anyone who is in need of a reading or spiritual work and who is willing to do the work that the universe asks of them.

– Dani

 

 

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Femme. Ish. 

Let me start out by saying, I love femmes. I have the pleasure of being surrounded by femmes who coordinate their outfits like natural born divas, style their hair and polish their nails as if they are instructed by the goddess and present themselves as people defining and redefining what it looks like to live in a male dominated society. They are women, men, trans folk, gender defiant, genderqueer, gender nutural and genderfluid. They fight for their visibility and support each other to preserve their livelihood. They are smart, sexy, out spoken, courageous and down right fun. 

But I have struggled with my own femme identity for quit some time.

I’ve been assumed femme since I entered into the Queer community. I say assumed because no one ever asked me if I identified as a femme before calling me out publicly as one. Okay so I will say that there is a lot of evidence for this assumption. I love dresses, always have. I’m obsessed with various shades of purple lipstick and just started wearing a black shade as a throw back to my goth days (and I have to say I look fucking fierce). I never go anywhere without jewelry on and wear my rings religiously. I rep Hello Kitty everyday, all day. I keep my nails painted with mostly glitter polish and always smell like lavender. But consent is essential. The idea of being called a femme began to rub me the wrong way when the identity was assigned to me without my permission.

Then there is the Black Lesbian stereotype of being either the butch or the femme in a same sex relationship. Someone once asked me in terms of my relationship with my partner which one was the butch and which one was the femme. I replied that we just don’t do that. We both identify as women who are fairly gender fluid in our presentation. As my partner’s former service girl, I always carried her bag when she dressed more butch and she carried her own when she presented femme. I always liked wearing a botton down with leather suspenders in jeans when I was in service but when we were out as “the girls” we wore dresses (sometimes the same one) or wore whatever the hell we chose. 

I want to acknowledge that their once was, and in some places still is, a necessity in presenting as a butch/femme couple particularly for people of color. In places where it is not safe to be a woman romantically holding the hand of another it is safer to look like a heterosexual couple as not to be the target of violence. And aside from matters of safety, there are just some couples that choose to align themselves with those identities which is ofcourse their right. In my partnership, we decided not align with those particular roles and quit frankly, I am more attracted to women that move in between them. I assert that this has much to do with the fact that we are a Queer partnership, not Lesbian identified, and we choose to present based on how we feel in the moment.

In terms of being femme identified, I’m still on the fence. As a result of my experiences, I have often had moments where I literally yelled out ‘I’m not a femme!’ as I slipped on my lace nighty and my Amethyst stone necklace. I say it with a volume of defiance just because I don’t want people to label me something I’m not. And I’m realizing now that maybe it isn’t that I’m not. I just want the space to yell out ‘I am a femme!’ as I define it and have others identify me as what I declared first and on my own.

I’ve struggled with becoming a women which relates directly to my struggle of being femme. I started estrogen because I produce too much testosterone and my body changed from blocky, hairy and smelly to curvy, soft and flower scented. My fat tummy feels more comfortable in a dress and I’m just happy that I love them anyway to make my plus sized body feel less confined. I walked around being very unaware of my pretty privilege for quit some time and as a result never fully embraced being feminine. And because I will probably never wear heels and haven’t shaved my legs since high school, I’ve thought that I simply would never fit the definition of femme. 

So being femme identified is very loaded for me. It has everything to do with my body, stereotypes, womanhood, genderqueerness, the binary and a limited shoe collection. It’s an identity that I haven’t fully owned and am not sure I ever will.

But I have to say, there is something really nice about the femmes I admire seeing a little femme in me, like a sparkle I’ve kept a closed eye to. Maybe there is a femme in me, waiting to be called out by my own proclamation. Maybe femme is already in me and I’m just not ready to own it.

All I know is that I am learning to own my evolution and whether that journey is defined by a thong or briefs isn’t really as important to me as the complicated work of being okay with being myself.

So for now, just call me Ashley or a Black Unicorn and we can grow from there. 

Accepting Love in California

Foundation at a secret rose garden in the hills

In this moment, California is guiding me in accepting love.

Love has always been complicated for me. At the foundation of my history, love has always been confusing, scary, painful and numbing. Love has come with conditions. It was something I had to earn, to be good enough for and to piece together in times of scarcity. Love has been something I truly believed I did not fully deserve so even when it was right in front of me, I simply could not even open myself up enough to feel it.

But something has shifted for me during my stay in Oakland and my visits to San Francisco. I was warmly welcomed into homes that felt like sanctuaries. I was given space to write and think deeply about the ways in which conversations have touched me. I was held physically in a spiritual expression of my sexuality and trusted a love one to move and heal my energy. I was introduced to new ideas about my relationships that I never thought possible. I was embraced in safe spaces that honored my identity as a Queer Black poly kinky witch woman. 

I felt safe inside the space love made for me and was asked for very little in return. 

I know that Liberation is a journey in loving myself. When I first realized that, it felt out of body, foreign and down right disgusting. I am now becoming so shockingly present to how long I have hated being me and being here and that self loathing has blinded me from the possibility of truly loving others, letting others love me and having the willingness to love myself.

I’m realizing that until I am ready to dive into the experience of loving myself, I have to let others show me the way by letting them love me.

And honestly, it all still feels a little weird. Self love feels like something I still want to roll my eyes at and bulldoze over with sarcastic laughter just to feel safe talking about it. I mean what does it really look like to love myself? Mani pedi’s on Saturday mornings? Walks in the park with India Arie blasting in my headphones? Naked midnight howling at the moon? I’m guessing it could be all or none of these things.

I’m guessing that when the time comes to fully feel it, I’ll know.

Beginnings, Endings and In Between

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On a trip with two fellow witches to Big Indian, NY

Change is both beautiful and remarkably horrifying but when you dive into a new way of being with a willingness to leave behind a way that has stopped working, you’re free to create what’s next.

Last year, I became a women I did not recognize and this year, I know the women I am becoming and for the first time in my life, I am willing to love her.

June 15th, 2016, the week after my 28th birthday, I decided to get sober. It was the hardest, scariest thing I have ever done in my life but I realized in order to feel living, I had to stop attempting to erase myself with drugs and alcohol.

The results have been truly miraculous.

I found a spiritual practice. I am embracing my new journey as a Santera (a woman who practices Santeria) and am learning to develop a relationship with my ancestors. I am delighted to share ceremony with my ile (spiritual house) and be guided by my Madrina (godmother) in discovering my abilities as a Spirituous (one who talks to spirits/the dead) and a Medium. I am understanding myself as a spiritual being and that feeling is beyond words.

I have my family back. When I was using, I was so caught up in my own trauma that I held every memory against the people who helped raise me. Now I can acknowledge that yes, my trauma effects my everyday life but it does not have to dictate how I love others. My mother and I have a healthier relationships as adults sharing our struggles and creating boundaries with love. My dad and I are mending our once strained relationship. I can honor my family in a way that keeps me safe enough to feel how much they love me.

I manage my mental illness. I fully accept being a bipolar woman. I accept that if I do not take my medication, I will return back to the a psychiatric institution or worse. So I medicate myself everyday. I track my moods, have a relationship with my medical team and realize that my mental stability comes before everyone and everything. I don’t hate the disease, I accept that this is the life I have been given and I advocate for the mentally ill that stand beside.

I am finishing my first novel and a collection of poems. Since getting sober, my work has greatly improved and I am able to write again without fear. I can properly communicate the purpose of my long term writing projects. My first novel in progress, The Liberation of the Black Unicorn, is about a Queer Black women’s journey through mental illness, addiction, breakdown and recovery. My forthcoming poetry collection, Chronicles of Bipolar Living, is a collection of poems and prose about illness, love and healing. I am so excited for the day I’ll be able to share these works with my readers as they push through their own breakdowns and breakthroughs.

I’ve learned to have healthy relationships. It has been the hardest thing to put my own sense of well being and self preservation before my friends and romantic relationships. It doesn’t feel natural. But in order for me to maintain healthy connections, I have to let people go, create boundaries with love and speak my mind. I have to let go of old patterns that allowed others to hurt me (and in turn hurt them) and create a way to stay safe in my relationships.

I am learning who I am and who I am not. I can be a highly unstable chick. I live in a pattern of emotional extremes. I am working on using my voice. I am learning that I am beautiful and fierce. I am not an average girl. I am not willing to kill myself slowly any longer. I am not willing to go on hurting others. I am ready for healing. I am willing to love myself. I am willing to feel and define what true liberation feels like.

What lies at the other side of change is overwhelming but I am so blessed to be able to step out a self destructive life I created.

I am becoming the woman I know I was meant to be and I feel a little closer to happiness.

 

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Movie star freedom in Woodstock, NY