guest post

The Magic of Being an Expat


I've been reading Sarah's blog for a couple of months now and only recently gathered up the courage to email her and say hello. I love how vulnerable and upbeat Sarah's writing is, and from my experience of living in France I could entirely relate to her posts that talked about being an expat. Today she's taking over Spikes and Stardust to talk about the magic of being an expat.

Hello, Spikes and Stardust readers! My name’s Sarah and my blog, The Laughing Medusa, is an adventure guide for urban pixies. I’m Canadian by birth but last October I packed two suitcases and moved across the Atlantic to try out life in jolly ol’ England. The lovely Indigo has let me take over the reins here today to talk about the magic of being an expat.

It’s interesting to think about how many incarnations I’ve been through already in my life. Depending on when someone met me, they probably have very different ideas about who I am as a person.

And when I say I believe in magic, that’s what it comes down to: The freedom we have to create our lives. To shape ourselves into the people we want to be.

Of course we all have different limitations that we’re working with, but we’re never stuck with what we’ve got.

It wasn’t that long ago that my life was ruled by shoulds.

I should always have a certain amount of money in the bank.

I should sacrifice my other dreams to graduate at the top of my class.

I should find a job to pay the bills.

I should play it safe.


But through a series of choices led by my heart rather than those guilt-inducing shoulds, things slowly started to shift. Now I barely recognize the thinking of that girl I was before.

Perhaps more than anything else, moving to London has shown me how truly magical life is.

I didn’t step off that plane and become a different person. But it solidified a deep understanding that my choices cast spells and create who I am.

The magic of being an expat is two-fold.

First, when you move away from everything that’s secure and familiar, you release yourself from the expectations of people who think that you’ll continue along the same old path forever. You give yourself the freedom to take risks and experiment with new ways of thinking, dressing, doing.

Secondly, you’ve already taken a massive risk and proven how brave you are, that you’re capable of making things happen. You know what you’re capable of, so you’re less likely to hesitate the next time a wild and wonderful dream dances into your mind.

Even before I had a plane ticket, my decision to move was inspiring me to make other changes in my life. I had a certain vision of what my life in London would be like and I wanted to really embody the kind of person who would live that sort of life. I started saying yes more often. I sought out adventure. I became more playful with the way that I dress. I stopped letting the fear that I wouldn’t be good at something get in the way of my desire to do it.

I used to be a bit of a neasayer. I had a million reasons why my dreams were unattainable. 

Becoming an expat has opened up my world.

I’m filled with this overwhelming love for the city where I live and the more I go out and reap the opportunities London offers, the more magical my life becomes.

And I share a little bit of this adventure each week in my Expat Diaries series. I do hope you’ll stop by and say hello!

Top photograph by Katherine Rothman

Have You Ever Wanted To Learn How To Read Tarot But Didn't Know Where To Start?


Then today is your lucky day! Miss Bri, of Milagro Roots (who I had the immense pleasure of meeting and getting to know when The Blogcademy came to Austin), has answered a question I asked her in August in a guest post so the knowledge can be shared with all of you magical babes. I've always been curious about reading tarot but had no idea where to start, so I asked her if she could teach me, especially since I had picked up a beautiful deck earlier that year. So, without further ado, here is Bri's introduction to reading tarot:

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Image from

Start with the Rider Waite Smith deck

If Tarot is a romance language then the Rider Waite Smith (also known as Rider Waite) deck is Latin--the beginning of the beginning. Not the oldest deck nor the most traditional, the RWS has attained such high status for a few interesting historical reasons but primarily because so many of the decks that came after its publication in 1909 follow the same basic system of symbol and meaning--if you cut your tarot teeth on the Ride Waite Smith deck you will be way ahead of the game.

Learn the history of the cards

There are some topics (Lady Gaga, the Bermuda Triangle, Bigfoot…) that are as misunderstood as the tarot but not many. The occult trappings of both tarot cards and reading the cards for divinatory purposes did not really get set into motion until the Victorian era. My favorite book that gives a real and fair look at the history of the cards is Paul Huson's Mystical Origins of the Tarot. Follow that up with Rachel Pollack's Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom and you will have a solid foundation to work from. The books do not teach you how to read tarot--that comes from within you, but they do assist in placing tarot within a greater context--and that will help you as you feel your way through the cards.

Divination is a ritual--treat it like one

Tarot cards may or may not have been originally intended for divination purposes (it's a hot debate) but that is their primary purpose, especially in America, these days. Divination is a sacred art and as such one should approach a tarot reading in an open, friendly, and sincere manner. Light a candle, burn some incense, take time to center yourself and access that still, small voice within you--the cards reflect truths you already know.

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Image from

Keep your spreads simple

I am always surprised at how many beginner books hand out really elaborate spreads, especially since some of the best readers I know stick to the old so-called Gypsy method of 1/2/3=past/present/future. Start with drawing one card, two cards (especially great for yes/no questions) and three cards--then bloom from there with a spread like this one.

Know that you know

Tarot cards are a map. They show us what we already know to be true--but maybe forgot (or decided to willfully ignore)--you already know the answers sweet thing!

Happy Trails and Happy Tarot!

[lightgrey_box]You can connect with Miss Bri on her

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