I have had a crush on Beth Maiden at Little Red Tarot (no relation) since I first saw her website. She is so smart, and has such an incredible point of view in regard to the cards. She comes at them in a gentle but sassy, non-binary, gender queer, true appreciation for the root of the root and the bud of the bud, as ee cummings would say. I'm not sure who found whom first, but we did the first of many reading swaps and then became friends and then we got to hang out in Portland last year! The crush continues and her work keeps getting bigger, and deeper and more intimate and expansive at the same time. She's something else. And if you need a reading, she's really fricking good.
1. What you appreciate the most in your friends.
I love people who show up. Who are present. Yes that means being there for me, but more importantly, I like to see people show up for their own lives.
For me me, love is about respect and admiration, and what I respect and admire most is when people show up, grab hold of their lives and live it. I’m proud to be friends with folks who do that and who inspire me to do the same.
2. Your idea of happiness.
Knowing on a deep level that I’m living the life I want to live, need to live. It’s a feeling that comes and goes with the seasons of life - sometimes I feel like everything is in alignment and that’s when I know the deepest happiness. It’s an intuitive process.
…And being by the sea or climbing a hill or beside a fire or in a lake or pitching a tent or under a tree… these are the places I feel at peace and the places I’m always returning to. Connected. Happy. Free.
…And scheming with Emma over nachos and wine. We’re always dreaming up huge plans - some we do, some we let go, it doesn’t matter which, I just love the process of dreaming and scheming together and getting all wound up and excited.
…And sharing drinks with a small group of amazing friends in a noisy bar or dancing all night at DIY punk discos.
...And I love this secret time before dawn when I can get up and have a coffee and watch the day begin, alone with my thoughts. It’s like that right now as I’m answering your questions - the wind is wild and there’s rain lashing the windows of my caravan, light is breaking over the sea. Today I’ll be mending and painting signs in the workshop. Tomorrow, something different. But every day has this amazing time of dawn and potential, and I love being present for that.
Hmm. I could go on and on. There are a lot of ways to experience happiness!
3. Your idea of misery.
Feeling out of touch with myself, and that terrifying feeling of not knowing who I am. Too much computer time. Being unable to access open countryside. Insomnia. Anxiety. Backache. And as I get older I realise that of these things are related.
4. Where would you like to live?
Home is a conversation between your inner self and your environment, and right now, the Isle of Skye is home. My inner self and the landscape, earth and weather are getting on well. I feel connected, aligned, all of that stuff.
But there are so many places I could live. I love to move, but I also love to invest in where I am…I love change, but I also love that feeling of rootedness. I have Aquarius sun and Capricorn moon and they’re always in conflict! I’m always looking for the intersection: how to feel grounded, while still feeling free. I’ve spent the past few years living on a canalboat, which is a fun way to play with that juxtaposition of movement and stillness. You can take your physical home with you - one year I lived in the Yorkshire pennines, the next year I was in the city of Manchester, but my boat, my nest, my home remained the same, bobbing on the water, never still.
Now, though, I’m feeling more serious about roots and earth and space and exploring the idea of stillness. Emma and I have always talked about building a house, but those talks are becoming more serious, more like real plans. It’s exciting to be teetering the precipice of such a commitment. Maybe it will be here on Skye. Maybe somewhere else. We don’t know yet. I’m trying to let the land speak to me.
5. Your favorite colors and flowers.
Red red red. Red notebook, red hat, red shoes, red boat, red lipstick, red purse, red carpet, red van, red hair. I like red.
I love all flowers, but wildflowers like poppies, chamomile, wild roses, meadowsweet, cornflowers are my favourites, especially in unexpected places.
6. Your favorite poets.
7. Your heroes/heroines in fiction.
Pippi Longstocking. Charlotte the spider. Jane Eyre.
8. What role does divination play in your life?
I don’t often use the word ‘divination’, but in that sphere, I use tarot (and oracle decks) on a daily-ish basis to touch base with myself, to give myself ‘me time’. For me, tarot is a way of getting thoughts and feelings out of my head and onto the table where I can see them clearly.
I also use tarot to… prompt special conversations with friends, within personal rituals, to check in with myself each morning, to get me out of a momentary rut, to appreciate and explore the artwork and idea, to develop my understanding of psychology, to connect with strangers, to make money, as a reassuring habit, to prompt writing, to follow the wheel of the year and the seasons…
I use tarot in so many personal ways, but it’s also my work. I help people to connect with their cards in meaningful ways through the Alternative Tarot Course and connect with tarot lovers through my blog and online community. What started as a personal blog has grown over five years into a business with which I can travel and connect with amazing people.
So yeah. Tarot plays a huge role in my life! I can’t imagine my life without it.
I don’t ‘do’ any other form of divination, though I love reading about astrology - I always read my horoscopes and have been learning to read my birth chart.
9. Your heroes/heroines in real life.
Emma Appleton, the love of my life. She lives life with generosity, passion, and integrity, more than anyone I’ve ever met. She is a force of nature, so full of energy and determination, fiercely working to bring out the best in herself and in others. People just open up in her presence, it’s so beautiful to watch. She’s a builder, a teacher and facilitator and a fiery Aries. She’s my soul mate, and she inspires me in everything she does. I love her with a depth and strength I didn’t know I was capable of.
10. What is your present state of mind?
Gradually letting go of my ‘go go go’ mindset and embracing Skye-time, where nothing happens fast and the wild northern weather is everything.
11. What is your favorite tarot deck or divination tool?
Three decks: Thea’s Tarot, the Wild Unknown Tarot, and my trusty Rider-Waite-Smith.
12. Your favorite songs?
Devotion, by the Indigo Girls. Dirty Gold, Angel Haze. Anything by Neko Case, bell’s roar, Gossip. Like You, by Kristin Hersh.
13. What is your favorite word?
“Yes”. (Especially when it’s coming from Emma and we’re sitting in a bar having nachos and wine and dreaming up our latest scheme.)
14. What is your least favorite word?
Any word spoken in hate or fear, intended to hurt, oppress or belittle.
15. What sound or noise do you love?
Music from my favourite artists. Emma’s voice reading me a story in bed. The sea, the wind, rain on the roof of my boat, waterfalls gushing in the Calder Valley, a robin singing.
16. What sound or noise do you hate?
The dentist’s drill.
17. What turns you on?
Showing up. Saying yes. Working hard. Being present in the moment.
18. What turns you off?
When people let their egos get in the way of really living (something we all do.)
19. What is your favorite curse word?
Bollocks. Feck is a close second, if any Father Ted fans are reading.
20. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Heaven is a lake (Loch Nevis) and a mountain (Ben Nevis) right here in the north of Scotland. As I arrived they said ‘you’re home - for now at least.’
Now, Beth is currently living on the Isle of Skye and is writing the most amazing observations about her life there. I hope she turns her travelling into a book, but in the meantime, please go read what she's up to. There is some beauty there.
Thanks, B. Always a pleasure. :)
Twitter @littleredtarot http://twitter.com/littleredtarot
The Alternative Tarot Course http://tarotcourse.littleredtarot.com