Category Archives: Tarot Wisdom

My Body, My Chariot

thoth-chariotMy 40th birthday came and went, and with it I have passed into my Chariot growth cycle. I am a huge fan of following along with my growth cycles in the tarot, as synchronicity is a guiding principle in my life. My love of symbols and meaningful coincidences continue to imbue my day to day with a bit of magic.

The Chariot is a symbol of moving along your path, or being stuck. It is about balancing the flurry of movement with quiet and solitude. It is a growth year where change often happens in alignment towards positive growth in your personal and professional life. The synchronicities abound for me… So much excitement is happening as the Reclaiming Beauty Journal & Wisdom Deck is now a tangible reality.  I’ve started to schedule more speaking engagements and workshops. I’ve made a shift in my career to create more space for Reclaiming Beauty Coaching clients. I completed a room addition on my home and have moved out of my son’s bunk bed where I slept all summer. I can feel the need for balancing this exciting movement forward with self-care and downtime, so my wheels don’t spin out.

Reflecting on this growth symbol, I have also been sitting with the metaphor of my body as my chariot. Reclaiming beauty is a process that connects a person to their true Self, and when you feel that connection, your relationship with your body will transform. Your body becomes the vehicle for your true Self in the world, and when you experience this truth first hand, you will be more likely to treat your body with kindness and compassion. My body will be carrying me through this year of moving along my path, and I will honor it with thoughts and actions that express an understanding of the beautiful treasure it is carrying inside.

One of my favorite ways to honor my body, my chariot is self-care. At the Reclaiming Beauty Book Release Party, I will be featuring many of the healers who are a part of my self-care journey. I can’t wait to share these amazing women with you!

I will be joining one of them, Dr. J. Anya Harris, of Crystalign Chiropractic, for an upcoming workshop. I’d love to see you there. Details below!

How does viewing your body as the chariot for your true Self support you in transforming this precious relationship? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Walk in beauty,

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shelley rb altar

Reclaiming Beauty Wisdom Deck

Transform Your Relationship with Your Body-

A Workshop for Women

Thursday October 8th 6:30-8pm at Crystalign Chiropractic

 with Dr. J. Anya Harris and Heidi Andersen, MS, LPC, CEDS, author of the Reclaiming Beauty Journal and Wisdom Deck.  Heidi is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Reclaiming Beauty Coach. In this workshop, Heidi will teach you how to go from body-shaming to self-compassion and heal the relationship between you and your body using practical tools for a positive self image.  Anya will share some fantastic natural health and beauty tips, and there will be a live Demo of Heidi’s empowering book and Wisdom Deck!

Sign up for this fun, practical and life-affirming class today!

$10 at the door.

RSVP by 10/7.  Email to RSVP. 



RB Book Release Party Poster


All My Relations

BalanceFinalLast month at the Bikram studio, one of my all-time favorite teachers, Ross Randall, made a slight change to his usual guiding principle of “Don’t be lazy, don’t be crazy.” In a new, by donation class experience he has created to benefit local non-profits complete with black lights, glow in the dark bracelets, and an accompanying soundtrack intentionally chosen for each posture in the yoga series, Ross charged us with an amended version of his motto just for the evening, “Be crazy!”

Welcome to Glowga!

I knew I was going to love this class, with two of my favorite things being woven together, Bikram yoga and music, but I had no idea the spiritual experience that was in store…

The class happens the second Friday of every month, and this second Friday was right before my birthday on September 17th – this particular birthday being the end of my Art/Synthesis year, the overarching Hierophant cycle, and the beginning of my Lovers year, Lovers cycle. I have been blogging about my growth year cycles for the past five years, which is pretty amazing to me at this point. You can follow the thread by clicking through the “Tarot Wisdom” category. The Lovers year is one where a person may feel the need to reassess relationships. They may feel drawn to deepen and expand some, shed others. For me, I feel this year is symbolic of an integrated embodiment of the Lovers archetype within myself.

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Zen Osho Tarot Deck

The back story – I returned to Bikram yoga after giving birth to my son with a clear intention. I wanted to balance my masculine and feminine energies. At the time, I was all feminine archetype – mothering, compassionate, feeling, intuitive. My body embodied this archetype. I needed the strong, structured container of the Bikram practice (masculine archetype) to support bringing me into balance. As I step into my Lovers year, I can feel inside myself and see externally this balance has come to fruition. The sacred marriage of the divine masculine and divine feminine within, giving birth to my Self, has been realized.

My consistent, dedicated yoga practice lay the foundation for the experience I am about to share. It happened, of course, in Tree Pose. In this pose, a person must first ground themselves into the Earth to feel strong and rooted, expressing the masculine energy. From this place, you then bring one leg up, balancing on the other leg, draw your foot up into your inner thigh, and use the opposing force to reach your energy up towards the sky and expand, expressing the feminine energy.

While practicing this pose, Ross played Aretha Franklin’s soul classic “You’re All I Need to Get By.” Listening to Aretha singing in the background, the tears flooded down my face. I felt a deep integration of the masculine/feminine energy within myself, an authentic self-love and self-approval I have never known. The soulful love song felt like my Self singing to my Self. It was trippy and beautiful and when it was over I laid down in Savasana and just let it all sink in.


Thoth Crowley Tarot Deck

As my birthday came and went that week, I reflected on this experience. I dedicate this Lovers year to All My Relations. In the practices I study, I am taught of the play of All My Relations – with Self, with other people, with the Earth and with the Divine. I am taught that my relationship with my Self will shape how my relationships manifest in the world. If this teaching is accurate, and this snapshot is the relationship that is happening with my Self here at the beginning of my Lovers year, than Wow I am excited for what is in store for this cycle of my life…

If you are interested in your current Growth Year Cycle, or personal Tarot Symbols, I would love to hear from you. Check out the Tarot for Your Soul offerings or contact me for a Tarot Profile at

And I’m curious, in the comments below, please tell me… Have you ever had a love song to yourself and if so, which song?

The next GLOWGA! class at the Asheville Bikram studio – Bikram Yoga class with music and blacklights-  will be Friday October 10th at 6:30pm. Maybe I’ll see you glowing in the hot room.

Walk in Beauty,

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Image: Leah Joy – Balance from the Reclaiming Beauty Wisdom Deck


Angeles Arrien: 1940 – 2014

In Memoriam: I am mostly a self-taught Tarot Lover. In 1999 I stumbled upon “The Tarot Handbook: A Practical Application of Visual Symbols” by Angeles Arrien in a funky bookstore in San Franciso, California. I have studied this book over the years to turn it into the torn, tattered and well-loved copy it is today. The author, Angeles Arrien, is a women I consider to be one of the most influential teachers of my life. Angeles Arrien died unexpectedly and prematurely earlier this year. I want to take a moment here to honor her and offer so much gratittude for the book she wrote that I discovered in that bookstore so many years ago, a book that has helped me create a lot of meaning out of the ups and downs of my life, and helped others to do the same.

I honor you, angel Angeles Arrien.  

Beautiful Alchemy


From the Zen Osho Tarot Deck

You are not going to believe this little tidbit… but I have never read Eat Pray Love. 

I have started it many times, and it has felt like a necessary book to have in my personal library. On Friday, June 27th I got to see the author of this delicious memoir, Elizabeth Gilbert, speak about her new book, The Signature of All Things, at UNCA with my dear friend Rebecca and I thought to myself, “Dang, it is time I read Eat Pray Love.” 

I am glad that I waited until my life story was a little more parallel with hers to take this journey with her, because her words are resonating with me. I just finished the first third of the book, telling of her journeys in Italy. I’d love to share the following exert, as I feel it speaks to the spirit of Reclaiming Beauty.

On my way back home I take a little detour and stop at the address in Rome I find most strangely affecting – the Augusteum. This big, round, ruined pile of brick started life as a glorious mausoleum, built by Octavius Augustus to house his remains and the remains of his family for all of eternity. It must have been impossible for the emperor to have imagined at the time that Rome would ever be anything but a mighty Augustus-worshiping empire. How could he have possibly foreseen the collapse of the realm? Or known that, with all the aqueducts destroyed by barbarians and with the great roads left in ruin, the city would empty of citizens, and it would take almost twenty centuries before Rome ever recovered the population she had boasted during the height of her glory?

Augustus’s mausoleum fell to ruins and thieves during the Dark Ages. Somebody stole the emperor’s ashes – no telling who. By the twelfth century, though, the monument had been renovated into a fortress for the powerful Colonna family, to protect them from assaults by various warring princes. Then the Augusteum was transformed somehow into a vineyard, then a Renaissance garden, then a bullring (we’re in the eighteenth century now), then a fireworks depository, then a concert hall. In the 1930s, Mussolini seized the property and restored it down to its classical foundations, so that it could someday be the final resting place for his remains. (Again, it must have been impossible back then to imagine that Rome could ever be anything but a Mussolini-worshiping empire.) Of course, Mussolini’s fascist dream did not last, nor did he get the imperial burial he’d anticipated. 

Today the Augusteum is one of the quietest and loneliest places in Rome, buried deep in the ground. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. (One inch a year is the general rule of thumb for the accumulation of time’s debris.) Traffic above the monument spins in a hectic circle, and nobody ever goes down there – from what I can tell – except to use the place as a public bathroom. But the building still exists, holding its Roman ground with dignity, waiting for its next incarnation. 

I find the endurance of the Augusteum so reassuring, that this structure has had such an erratic career, yet always adjusted to the particular wildness of the times. To me, the Augusteum is like a person who’s led a totally crazy life- who maybe started out as a housewife, then unexpectedly became a widow, then took up fan-dancing to make money, ended up somehow as the first female dentist in outer space, and then tried her hand at national politics – yet who has managed to hold an intact sense of herself throughout every upheaval. 

I look at the Augusteum, and I think that perhaps my life has not actually been so chaotic, after all. It is merely this world that is chaotic, bringing changes to us all that nobody could have anticipated. The Augusteum warns me not to get too attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve. Yesterday I may have been a glorious monument to somebody, true enough – but tomorrow I could be a fireworks depository. Even in the Eternal City, says the silent Augusteum, one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation. 

~Elizabeth Gilbert

from Eat, Pray, Love


From the Thoth Tarot Deck

And now today is July 27th… one month later. This past weekend, I have been reflecting over my year. Many of you know I pay attention to the ways my life lines up with growth cycles in the Tarot. Since my last birthday in September, I have been in an Art/Synthesis year. The Art/Synthesis year is one where a person is integrating all different parts of themselves to create the full artistry of who they are – weaving together what may seem like opposite forces – making art and alchemy from the polarities. This Art/Synthesis year is a big one for me, because it is also the end of a much larger cycle. In 2004, I began a Hierophant cycle, which is the cycle of  Family, Community and Spiritual development. In that year, I met the man I would fall in love with, the one who would gift me with my life’s greatest blessing, my son, Joey, and my life’s second greatest blessing, falling out of love with me, so that I could fall in love with myself.

Throughout my Hierophant Cycle, I fell madly in love, got married, went to graduate school, started my career, started building a life in a house in the woods, began working with women with eating disorders, had a baby, fell madly out of love, got divorced, grieved, wrote a book where I shared the lessons I learned, made meaning of it all, and healed.

No wonder there are moments I feel so dizzy.

On Saturday afternoon, I finished reading the second third of Eat, Pray, Love. In the second part of this memoir, Elizabeth Gilbert spends six months in an ashram in India, and one of the issues she faces inside of herself is healing the wounds related to her divorce. I was inspired by a spontaneous forgiveness ritual she described involving climbing up on a rooftop at the ashram. So inspired, in fact, I found myself getting in my car at 5pm and driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I drove to one of my favorite spots, Graveyard Fields, and hiked up to the Upper Falls. Along the hike, I found myself reflecting on the various avenues I have explored in my life… mother, wife, divorcee, single parent, marimba player, music therapist, eating disorder therapist, child and family therapist, soccer player, singer/songwriter, yoga teacher, folk rock duo, tarot reader, writer, blogger, dancer… so many different aspects of myself… finding a place to weave together in a beautiful alchemy in this Art/Synthesis year. I found myself reflecting on what has come to be my favorite place this year; my yoga mat at the end of my practice in Savasana. Feeling dizzy from all of the upheaval and transformation, I love Savasana, when I can let all of what has been release and allow whatever wants to be emerge in the moment. I used to freak out in the face of that nothingness, and after the experience of this Hierophant Cycle, I find a lot of peace in letting go of the old ways of being, and trusting they will be woven into the tapestry without having to grasp onto them for dear life.

I hiked back down to the Lower Falls and pulled out my little book on Ho’oponopono. Ho’oponopono is a forgiveness and reconciliation practice from the Hawaiian culture designed to bring healing to relationships with ourselves, our family members, and the world. In this practice, a person offers a prayer and meditation of four sentences: “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” This meditation is reflected on over and over, or given as a guide for communicating the reconciliation intention with another.

I was feeling drawn to the Ho’oponopono practice because I have grown weary of feeling angry at my ex-husband. I was ready to take full responsibility for whatever my part was in creating the situations that unfolded over the past two years after my separation and divorce. In the twilight and under the new moon in Leo, I made a ho’oponopono, sang a beautiful song that my friend Jen taught me, and dove into those Lower Falls at Graveyard Fields.

Hiking back to my car, soaked to the bone, I drove down the parkway, heat on, windows down, in my bra and underwear. I felt like a new woman, transformed by the beautiful alchemy of an Art/Synthesis year.


Lower Falls, Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Next stop… September 17, 2014, the wheel turns to the next cycle – The Lovers Cycle.


May I attract only kind and gentle life lessons and relationships (and lots of joy and passion.)

Gotta finish the last third of Eat, Pray, Love now! Another book I recommend for anyone working on Art/Synthesis themes is Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. It is a superbly crafted novel of interweaving stories about how life is never what we plan it to be and yet the beauty of life is about making meaning out of what it is.

If you are interested in finding out more about your Tarot Symbols or Growth Cycles, contact me to schedule a Tarot Profile session or Tarot Reading.

Walk in beauty,

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Keeping My Eyes Open Through Death/Rebirth

Image: Art Nouveau Tarot

Caution to the reader: This is a long, obnoxious post all about my process, but hey, it’s my birthday! so indulge me, if you please…       

Throughout my life I have had several recurring dreams. One takes place in Quail Hollow, the neighborhood where I spent my early childhood. Godzilla is headed north on Woodcock Way towards my street, Egret Court, and in order to be safe from the monster I must stay in the shadows. But there’s one problem. I am at my friend Tara Ireland’s house and have to run through the light to get across the street to my home. Another takes place in a shadowy version of our house on Egret Court. I am walking up a dimly lit staircase towards a third level of the house that in reality only had two stories. When I get to this attic space, I open the door and I see a mostly empty room with a very large vulture staring at me eye to eye. For some reason the image of this vulture still frightens me when I think back on the dream.

Recurring dreams are fascinating to me, so needless to say when I recently had a revised version of an old familiar dream I was very curious. The dream goes like this… I am walking through a very large house. It starts off with rooms full of innocent scenes of life. However, as I move deeper into the house, the rooms are filled with scenes of a darker and darker side of human nature. The dream is obviously representing the innocence lost from growing up in a more sheltered environment to then being exposed to the horrible ways people can treat one another in the real world.

In the final scene of the dream I am about to escape this horror house, but suddenly demons begin to surround me from every direction. I know if I can stay calm and keep my eyes open while these demons are surrounding me, I will be safe and able to escape. However, in the past dreaming of the dream, I would always panic, close my eyes and get dragged to hell.

But not this time! In this most recent dreaming of the dream, as the demons began to close in on me, I remembered I had a new skill… I could keep my eyes open, focus on my breath, and breath in and out in as even of a rhythm as possible, just like I have been practicing in the Bikram yoga hot torture chamber. I kept my breath steady, my eyes open, my panic at bay, and soon the demons backed away and disappeared. I then walked out of the horror house for the first time.

Image: Thoth Crowley Tarot

I feel there is a tremendous amount of significance in this new ending as today I move into my Death/Rebirth year. The Death/Rebirth year is not one to be feared. It is a year of releasing that which no longer serves you to make space for a rebirth. It is shedding your old skin to set the scene for a transformation. It is the letting go and surrender of preconceived notions, expectations, and limiting beliefs that must happen before a person can reclaim their true beauty.

This dream reminds me that I now have the POWER to stand strong in the face of my demons… my worst fears, my most raw vulnerabilities, my limiting beliefs about myself. What is ready to release, I will let go. What is ready to transform, I will transform. And step forward from the horror house into my Rebirth.  

This process takes courage. CHECK.

This process takes grieving. CHECK.

This process takes support. CHECK.

It is truly a Reclaiming Beauty process.

Inhale… Exhale…Repeat…and keep your eyes open!

During this Death/Rebirth year I plan to write a book about reclaiming beauty. I am also collaborating with a dear friend, Leah Joy, to create a deck of Reclaiming Beauty Mandala Cards to accompany this book. It is so exciting to focus on creativity as I move through this Death/Rebirth year!

As I said, one needs support during this growth cycle year. So I have a REQUEST: My support request is that all of the Reclaiming Beauty readers get inspired to contribute to the blog! I feel the conversation will be enriched with a wider range of voices sharing their reclaiming beauty experiences. This will allow me to focus on getting the book in my mind down on paper rather than the scheduled weekly posts. So please check out the Skills and see if you are inspired to share anything… writing, artwork, poetry, music, youtube videos. I will look forward to hearing more from the current beloved contributors as well as hear from some new voices. Please send me an email if you have any questions about contributing at

Thanks for your support and I look forward to your Reclaiming Beauty contributions.

To rebirthing beauty!

~ Heidi  

Tarot Note: If you are interested in learning more about your tarot PERSONALITY/SOUL symbols and your current GROWTH CYCLE YEAR, send me an email. I am currently offering tarot readings that will include this information on a sliding scale.

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Image: Thoth Crowley Tarot

In a recent session with my creative mentor, Heather Bleasdell, I received my latest wake-up call. I had entered the session planning on discussing the current developments with the Reclaiming Beauty Playshop. However, before I could bring up this topic, Heather went straight to the core issue. She asked, “What’s going on with your body?” With an inner grumble of knowing that she was right on with this question, I told her about the recent flare up and spread of a skin condition that I have had on and off for the past five years (psoriasis). I shared with her how the struggle with psoriasis has been an issue in my beauty walk because I feel it is an external mark for the world to see that I am not healthy – a mark that diminishes my sparkle. As she was compassionately grilling me about the need for me to take responsibility for my health in order for the change I desire to occur, she made this statement that kind of blew my mind: SPARKLE = POWER. It wasn’t the psoriasis that was diminishing my sparkle, but rather my disempowered approach to my health and my healing.  Gotta love that Heather.

This exchange was perfect timing for me as I am coming up on my birthday (Yay!) which for me heralds movement into a new Growth Cycle in the tarot: my Hanged Man year. (Good-bye Strength/Lustre year – I loved every minute!) The Hanged Man is an archetype representing the principle of surrender and breaking old patterns. The symbols on this card are very fascinating to me. The upside down man is making an upside down number four with his legs. In the tarot, the number four is the Emperor: the principle of personal power and leadership. The Egyptian Ankh (the reversed cross holding the foot of the Hanged Man) is a symbol of unlimited life force, constantly accessible for creative use. Another symbol of the potential for transformation, the snake, is found on the card as the coil  from which the man is hanging as well as encased below the crown of his head. All of these symbols tell the story of the power available to a person who is willing to break free from destructive and limiting patterns.

This card teaches that we can access our ability to transform our limitations into power/sparkle by getting new perspectives on old stuck patterns and sacrificing the needs of the ego which no longer serve us. Angeles Arrien explains it in this way, “The Hanged Man reminds us that our “hang-ups” can either prevent growth and evolution or they can serve to teach us where we need to free ourselves from undue self-imposed limitations. It reveals the part of ourselves that is willing to love ourselves enough to break limiting and destructive patterns within our personality.”

Image: Osho Zen Tarot

I love the Osho Zen Tarot deck’s image and interpretation of the Hanged Man symbol which it names “New Vision.” The figure on the card is dancing a wild dance of freedom from her stuck patterns. She has a newly accessed ability to see life and it’s challenges with fresh eyes. The image beautifully captures what the Hanged Man year offers if one chooses to accept the challenge, to answer its wake-up call. I want that freedom dance.

Soon after this session with Heather I did a 3 card reading for myself asking the question, “What do I need to focus on as I move into my Hanged Man year?”  Enter reinforcement of what needs to happen this year…

Nature of the Situation: XIII. Death/Rebirth – highlighting the surrender and letting go aspect of the Hanged Man – as anyone who has worked on making changes for their health knows, it is a grieving process to let go of those unhealthy coping behaviors, yet this grieving process is necessary for a rebirth to occur

Action Needed: Three of Swords: Sorrow – highlighting the need to release sorrow held in the mind – sorrow that influences my issues with being stuck and staying in old patterns and behavior choices that have a negative impact on my health – challenge my head tripping

Outcome: Four of Disks: Power – Yep, I hear you, Universe.

I would love to hear how other people are working with breaking free of stuck patterns to access their sparkle/power. Please comment if you feel inspired.

Break on through to the other side,

~ Heidi

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Strength/Lustre in 2010

One of my personal tools for growth and exploration is the tarot deck, and I have been studying tarot cards since I bought my first deck on Union Street in San Francisco in 1999. My current Growth Cycle Card for the year 2010 is number 11, Strength/Lustre. According to Angeles Arrien’s The Tarot Handbook, the following is what 2010 has in store for me:

Return of wonder, awe, passion, vitality and excitement! Demonstration of creative and physical strength. Attraction to creative, passionate people. The capacity to utilize all of one’s multi-faceted talents into one area. Passion for some form of creativity. Strong internal center is developed. Important Leo people in one’s life. Symbol for theater; one who is gifted in playing many different parts/roles well. Overcoming the “beasts” within; strong trust in self is developed.

Oooooohhhh! Sounds juicy. As I have been sitting with this symbol, I have noticed many synchronicities with the current developments in my life.  Of course the first obvious one is spending time with important Leo people… my little baby, Joseph, is already quite the expressive Leo. I also have found a fulfilling creative synthesis of my interests and skills in motherhood and in my work as a counselor. I feel renewed inspiration to bring to fruition some of the creative projects that have been percolating in my mind the past few years. And this inspiration has been fueled by the opportunity to collaborate with some creative and passionate people.

So, what does this all mean… It is very likely that this will be the year the Reclaiming Beauty Project becomes more than just a notebook in my office!

The work of the Strength/ Lustre card centers on the archetype of Beauty and the Beast. It reminds us to use our beauty- our unique gifts, talents and resources- to tame and reign the beasts within our nature. I can’t help but get excited about how this card reflects my ideas for the Reclaiming Beauty Project. One of the project’s intentions is to broaden participants’ definition of beauty to include themselves. We will do this by challenging our culture’s narrow definition of beauty and connecting participants to their inner uniqueness. The beast of negative body image and low self-image will be tamed by the participants’ own beauty.

Another aspect of this journey is Strength. Arrien states, “We cannot be in our lustre, our radiance, if we are not also in our strength.”  At the heart of the Reclaiming Beauty Project is the belief that joyful, positive experiences in our body give us direct access to our Self. Embodied movement is incorporated into each session with the hopes that participants will develop a personal practice of movement in their life. Strengthening our relationship to our body, we strengthen our relationship to our life. And then we shine, shine, shine…

With it being my Strength/Lustre year, I imagine I will be having a parallel process of Reclaiming Beauty in my life. I am excited to see what is in store for me… what beasts will be tamed. Of course, knowing me, I do like to keep a few untamed beasts around…

For the project, I will be partnering with the inspired Katherine Dowdney of Blissful Body. We hope to start the first group of women on this journey in the spring. Stay tuned for further developments and information on how you can be involved.

Shine on!

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