Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.

Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the surer we can be that we have to do it.

Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield

It’s terrifying, isn’t it? To finally reach that seemingly out-of-reach goal, only to become plagued by crippling self-doubt. Suddenly every decision you’ve ever made is suspect. You find yourself second guessing everything. You can’t do anything right.

Were you self-deluded when you chose your career? What the heck were you thinking? You may feel out of control; helpless and at the mercy of your own uncooperative brain. These sorts of thoughts can make you feel ineffective and clumsy, and you may find yourself starting to make all sorts of mistakes you would never have made before reaching your goals. These doubts can make you question why you tried so hard in the first place. Did you make an error pursuing this new life?

This struggle prompted this week’s question from Alexis: I haven’t been functioning well (or at all) since the idea that it could be an actual possibility sank in. Will I be able to continue to pursue law in my current school? I’m so scared.

In his book, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield writes about fear as the dragon that all creatives must come to terms with in order to do their work. However, this advice is also pertinent to anyone who has a long-term goal and anyone attempting to realize their life’s dream. You wish to study Law, and so this advice, Alexis, also applies to you!

Let’s see if the Tarot can help you conquer your own personal Dragon!

The spread I chose for this reading is a simple Past, Present, and Future Spread designed to reveal patterns of where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you’re likely to go if you hold to certain behaviors as usual. I pulled a fourth card for advice on how to change it up, for optimum results. I also checked the card on the bottom of the stack for insight into what is hidden and needs to be uncovered to bring the results we want.

You might notice that almost all the cards in this spread are reversed, and in this case, I believe it means that the situation you’re struggling with is much more internal than external. In other words, reversed/inverse=internal.

Here we go.

Card 1, Past Patterns: The Star, reversed

Losing hope, trouble maintaining a positive mental attitude. Seeing the worst, not the best. The glass is half empty.

Remember when I said that most of this reading is going to focus on internal issues that you may be working through, Alexis? This one’s a doozy! This card tells me that, in the past you’ve had a lot of difficulties believing that it was possible for you to achieve your goals at all! You should pat yourself on the back because despite all those inner objections, you’ve managed to manifest your desire: now, all you need to do is see it through. It may have been next to impossible to quiet your inner naysayer, but you’ve put yourself squarely on your path, anyway!

Card 2, Present Pattern: Knight of Wands, reversed

Alexis, you may be succumbing to your inner contrarian! Example: you see the sky is blue, and immediately your inner critic is not only telling you why you’re wrong about that, it’s also telling you how worthless you are for deciding that the sky is actually blue, and what makes you an authority on color or hues or skies, for that matter and…you get the picture.

Often, your first reaction, your first choice is the right one. Quit second guessing yourself!

Card 3, Future Patterns: The Chariot, reversed

Okay, first I want to make sure it’s understood what I mean by “future patterns”. This means that this is the way you’ll most likely express yourself in the world, what you’re likely to experience internally, based on how you’ve handled similar challenges in the past.

But, you can change that.

You may be one of those people who, no matter how well you do something, no matter how much you achieve– you still hear a familiar, toxic voice whispering nastily in your ear: I’m not good enough, I failed, or I can’t do it. You can become scattered, or, alternatively, hyper-focused. You judge yourself unfairly, even harshly, and can’t seem to see how far you’ve come.

Okay, Alexis, stop right there! Breathe. Let’s back up a little bit. There’s a real need to stop flogging yourself over failures that haven’t even happened!

Let’s take another look at this in context: this is what is most likely if you go on the way you always have done.

How do you fix it? Let’s take a look at that Advice card. Putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own. Not taking care of yourself. Needing sanctuary, a safe place. Needing to remember your own worth. Venomous and harmful mother energy.

Card 4, Advice: The Empress reversed

Putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own. Not taking care of yourself. Needing sanctuary, a safe place. Needing to remember your own worth. Venomous and harmful mother energy.

Remember the words of Alexander the Great, “Fortune favors the bold!”

Whew! That doesn’t sound all that encouraging, does it? How can this help me, you ask?

Well, because this is an Advice Card, which means that it’s good for showing you what it is you’re up against and how to deal with the challenges you’re facing.

Sometimes, when The Empress comes up in a spread in its reversed aspect, it’s telling you that you may have some “Out of Whack Mom Energy” you need to work through.

You may need to stop mothering everyone but yourself. If you’ve had a toxic mother in your life, quit listening to her when it’s not in your best interest. Start putting yourself first when you’re going through one of the toughest periods of your life. Make sure you have a place that feels safe for you. Try to remember that you are precious.

Here’s the Hidden thing that must be brought to light: You–the Queen of Wands. You–knowing what you want, and going after it. You–making no apologies for it, either.

Wrapping It Up

Alexis, you’re going to do FINE. You can and will succeed. Have some faith in yourself, and remember that your fear is only a reminder that you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. If it didn’t matter so much, you wouldn’t be scared. Feel the Fear, and do it anyway!

Submit your question to Raven now using the form here. Each week, Raven will choose a question and perform a personal Tarot card reading, offering her advice, insight, and wisdom based on what the cards say.