Well, that was a surprise: Part 1, the award
Don't Fear the Death Card gets an Austin Chronicle Best of Austin nod.
May is a month for transformation. Always has been, but this year, especially so.
My youngest is getting ready to finish elementary school. My oldest is taking driver’s ed. We’re gearing up for a big move to North Austin, and we’re coming down from an incredible experience in Costa Rica, where we witnessed my youngest cousin’s marriage.
The thread I’ve found among all of this news is surprise, so I’m breaking this week’s post into three chapters.
First: I hadn’t had time to unpack my suitcase when I opened an email on Thursday morning with the subject line: “Congrats! You're a Best of Austin Winner.”
I was confused because, as much confidence I have in my evolving title as “food writer,” I knew the Best Food Writer award would (and should) go to Nadia Chaudhury, who runs Eater Austin. No one covers the food scene in this city like Nadia, and I’m so glad to see that she won again.
I wasn’t nominated in the tarot category — I knew my friend Angeliska, aka Sister Temperance, was a shoo-in, deservedly so — which means I had zero expectations on the day the awards were announced.
I quickly skimmed the email and started putting together the pieces. The folks on the Chronicle staff had picked my tarot/ancestral healing business, Don’t Fear the Death Card, as one of its Critics Picks, where they create inventive categories for Austin-y businesses that they want to spotlight.
I won for “Best Way to Chat with the Ancestors.” What a delightful surprise.
Reading those words brought up so much emotion for me. When do ancestors ever get this much attention? How did I get here, a year after leaving the newspaper, getting recognition for this work I started doing because I loved it so much that it didn’t feel like work?
After a quick dance with my old friends, imposter syndrome and egotism, I settled into a sweet state of simply receiving. A deep knowing that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
It’s a feeling of worthiness and acceptance that I’m getting more acquainted with as the months of entrepreneurship pass.
Just a few days earlier, I was immersed in ancestor work at Chris and Haylie’s wedding — a ritual I’ll be writing about in part 3 of this mini series on surprises.
As the wedding weekend got underway, I decided to offer tarot readings to the many friends and family there who were curious about tarot.
I didn’t know a lot of these people before this trip, but through our excursions into the jungle together and our time spent chatting at the rehearsal dinner, I saw so many of them light up when we started talking about The People Who Came Before. I saw something shift when I reminded them that they, too, will be ancestors one day, even if they don’t have children. (An important principle of my practice: If you can have a chosen family that you aren’t biologically related to, then you can have chosen ancestors.)
It was an intense reminder that I’m not just a tarot reader. I’m an ancestral healer, a term that has taken awhile to get used to but that resonates the longer I do this work.
When I reflect about my journalism career, when I spent my time eagerly listening to people’s histories and family stories as a newspaper writer, I can see such similar threads to what I’m doing now. I’ve always known that interviewing people, even for a traditional news story, was often a cathartic experience for folks. “What’s your story?” can quickly lead to, “Tell me about what it was like when you were a kid,” which can quickly lead to, “Where did your parents grow up? What were they like?”
What a treat to get to use those skills in my readings (and tarot parties and hikes and all those other fun things the Chronicle folks mentioned in the blurb) and what a surprise to get a little bit of attention in the local alt weekly for it.
I’ve already had a little bump in bookings from the award, which is its own little surprise because with each new client, my own relationship with this practice and these cards grows.
A journalist-turned-ancestral healer.
Who woulda thunk?
On Tuesday: Well, that was a surprise: Part 2, the ring