On Friday, May 5th at 8:15 am PT we closed the Spring 2023 eclipse season with a lunar eclipse in Scorpio.
Eclipse seasons offer a chance to pause our manifestation work and witness what’s being released, what’s being born, and what has changed.
When we pause our manifestation work, what remains? In this spring season of rebirth, what creative expression wants to come forward?
As we move forward from eclipse season, I want to use the May Full Moon as an invitation to explore how far the phrase “you do you” might take us on a journey of self-expression…
Exploring the practice of self-expression naturally begs the question, what is the self? No biggie 😬
I’ll share my thoughts on this question, and how the Knight of Wands is a fantastic teacher, but Charles Wright really says it perfectly in the lyrics:
“It’s not what you look like when you’re doin’ what you’re doin’ It’s what you’re doin’ when you’re doin’ what it looks like you’re doin’ Express Yourself!”
If you aren’t familiar with this song, do yourself a favor and check it out on my Knight of Wands playlist here. Let the horns explain…
To state it without the benefit of funk: we intuitively recognize true self-expression when we see it in others, but being seen isn’t a condition of authentic self-expression.
For example, my grandmother loved to admonish/brag to my mom about the time when I was a little girl, sitting in the grocery cart, singing a made-up song. A kind stranger said to my grandmother, “What an adorable little grandchild you have!” Always courteous and wanting to teach me my manners, grandma instructed, “Meredyth, say thank you to the nice lady.” I turned to the stranger and flatly replied, “You ruined my song.”
Children are always expressing their authentic and creative voices with no desire for recognition or fear of impropriety. Even if they behave like little jerks, their their own jerks.
As we grow up, we begin to confuse our experience of self with how likeable we are to others. No wonder so many people casually state, “I’m not creative.” They’re afraid of judgement.
Miriam Webster defines self-expression as: “The expression of one’s own personality”, but that’s a bit problematic for me because it evokes the persona which, according to Carl Jung, lies between the ego and society.
In other words, if the persona is the social mask we wear, true self-expression, of the highest ‘self’, isn’t limited to personality.
In spiritual terms, the self isn’t just a physical being. It’s a spiritual being having a physical experience that’s connected to a larger universal consciousness.
In that case, self-expression goes far beyond personality. It becomes an expression of both individual creativity, and universal creation.
Tarot is such a fantastic example of this.
Each deck’s creator brings a unique perspective and talent to the artistry of the cards’ historic and symbolic language. Each practitioner adds their own connectivity to Spirit in their interpretations. Each recipient receives this collective wisdom through that artistry and interpretation, and then creates a unique understanding from their ‘self’.
Any one of the cards in the Tarot can become a teacher of self-expression, but I think that the Knight of Wands is especially well positioned to lead this charge.
In the Smith Rider Waite we see a red-headed figure astride a buckskin horse. Is the horse rearing, or are they practicing dressage perhaps?
There are beautiful feather plumes on the armor and the tunic is emblazoned with salamanders. Alchemists used the salamander to represent the element Fire. Because the salamanders’ tails aren’t touching their mouths, as they do in the King of Wands, we know that this mission is not yet complete.
Knights are on a quest, and so it makes sense that the Knights of the Tarot speak to us about movement and change. How are we proceeding through any given situation? What is the quality of that movement? What is the message of our quest?
At Sea Tarot, all Knights are ruled by Air, which represents the intellect and communication. Wands represents Fire, which is our passion and creativity. That means the Knight of Wands is Fire and Air elemented. This card explores how we bring our passion to life with support from the mind.
I like to describe the Knight of Wands as the Elton John of the deck.
Just in case not familiar with Elton John (there have been a few instances where my clients have given me blank stares upon hearing this), you’re you’re in for a treat. Once you’ve given him a listen, the 2019 biopic Rocketman is worth a watch.
Sir Elton John is virtuoso pianist and composer known for heartfelt ballads, and outrageous costumes. He’s one of the best selling artists of all time. He raises money for many charities including his own HIV/AIDS foundation.
Though he went so far as to date and marry women, he came out as bisexual in 1979 and later as gay in 1992. He’s stated in his autobiography that while married to a woman he was, “living a lie”.
So how does this relate to the Knight of Wands? When Elton John is behind an enormous grand piano in a feathered sequin costume playing Crocodile Rock, it’s the fullest extension of his authentic self.
Yes, he’s a showman in a costume, but it’s more than a performance. It’s authentically Elton John.
That said, during the time of his life that he was inauthentic about who and how he loves, his life was filled with addictions to drugs, alcohol, and consumption.
In nature, if we blow air into a fire we can help it to burn brighter; however, if we blow too strongly we can extinguish the flame or start a wildfire. The same goes for the Knight of Wands.
When our intellect serves our passions, they become brighter; but when the mind whips us judgement and criticism, our passions can dim or lead to toxic behaviors.
As you consider how to access the Knight of Wands to guide your passions, you can rest easy knowing that you don’t need to be anything like Elton John. That’s his flow and expression, not yours. You get to be you.
A very different cultural example of the Knight of Wands in action is Miranda July.
Miranda July is a performance artist, director, screenwriter, actress and author. Her work is spectacular, sardonic, and odd. She expresses anxiety and shyness with a creative voice that is inimitable, bizarre, slightly uncomfortable, and perfect.
To get a taste of her genius, check out this video, “A Handy Tip for the Easily Distracted”.
One of her books, It Chooses You, was written from interviews she collected by meeting people who posted in a penny-saver. In it she writes:
“I’ve been trying for so long now, for decades, to lift the lid a little bit, to see under the edge of life and somehow catch it in the act — “it” being not God (because the word God asks a question and then answers it before there is any chance to wonder) but something along those lines.”
This is the fluency of authentic self-expression I think we all long for.
Again, self-expression is a manifestation of your unique creativity, and creation writ large. No two individuals will have the same expression of self, and everyone’s unique expression is a manifestation of our universal oneness.
That expression of the universal, communicated uniquely through the individual, is how we get an Elton John, a Miranda July, and a you.
If the expression, “you do you” sounds like a judgement to you, I’d like to change that. No one ever needs to tell a child, “you do you”. As children we get a constant stream of edits and corrections on how we should behave differently.
Some of that guidance is useful, but the take-away often resonates in adulthood as, “You’re not enough, you are too much, you are imperfect and need to be altered.”
The Knight of Wands would like to replace that script with those Charles Write lyrics and instruct you to express your passion and play, as your authentic self, your perfect spirit.
The self-expression that the Knight of Wands invites is different than the brand of individualism that we hear so much about, often from companies selling an image via mass-produced retail items.
Of course you are an individual, but only within the context of being connected to the universal. You don’t need to assert your independence to express yourself, you were born uniquely you.
I love the maxim, “Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?”. It suits me. If standing out doesn’t feel like a joyful way to move through your day, that’s great! You get to do you.
To invite the Knight of Wands into your life, we get to feel into our passion, our fire, and make certain that our mind is in support of that flame. Here are five easy ideas to get you started:
1. Get Dressed
Start from the outside in.
What would ‘you do you’ look like in it’s biggest expression in your closet?
Do you feel at home in a black tie sequin gown? Put it on and dance around. You don’t need (but you can!) to wear it to the grocery store, just enjoy being fancy you for an afternoon.
Go to a thrift shop and try on something different than what you’d normally wear to work. How does it feel? The Knight of Wands is all about fun and feeling good. Dress accordingly.
A poem, a story, or a simple journal entry can be a conduit for our spirit’s expression.
What would a rap verse about your upstairs neighbors be? What adventures would you have in time travel? What love note would you like to receive?
When we put pencil to paper, the brain can become engaged in it’s favorite activity, problem-solving through imagination! Don’t criticize your work, this is just for fun and just for you.
3. Create something visual.
When we play with colors, shapes, textures, and lines, we get to see what delights our spiritual self.
You don’t need to have the skill of an illustrator to draw a picture. You don’t need Hollywood to make a short video. If finger-painting was fun as a kid, try it again! Make a sculpty-clay animal and then squish it if that sounds fun. Take a photo with your phone, then try it with film.
What medium does your biggest expression of self want to play with?
Dancing, yoga, hiking, jumping, skipping, walking, all of these are expressions of the spiritual self in physical form. If you can do the splits or pirouette, that’s incredible. If not, who cares?
The Knight of Wands is all about sensual movement. How does your body help you do you?
Take it from one who was grooving to her own beat at the check-out, when we vocalize it feels good.
Sing in the car, hum at your desk, belt out a ballad in the shower, or croon to Sinatra at karaoke. The notes you hit or miss have nothing to do with the musical expression of your authentic self. When we combine our voice (air) with our passion (fire) we’re literally exemplifying the Knight of Wands.
And those are just five ideas to get you started!
If other people’s voices and opinions (real or imagined) pull you into self-criticism and judgement, get on that horse and ride away. Feeding your passion with support means there’s no space for haters.
Remember, the Knight of Wands understands that the relationship between the spiritual self and creative self-expression is a symbiotic one, with each feeding and nourishing the other.