It’s a new year. How are you going to chart your way through it?

I’m on the phone with a new friend, talking about our work and what it’s gonna look like in the new year. And all that intention-setting and mapping of the future self that people do for the new year?

Us business owners double down and do it for our businesses, too. In the more formal biz world, it’s called “projections” but my circle of friends sticks with more touchy-feely terms like “intentions” or “goal mapping”.

I was gonna work on my book, my new friend tells me, but my astrologer says it’s not the time. Book writing is too solitary for me right now.

Huh, what? I think, biting my cheek and trying to come up with a kind and gentle way to tell her (since she’s a new friend and maybe not up for an all-out ass-kicking) that astrology readings should never override your free will or inhibit your creative process when charting your future self.

I too love getting the stellar long view but using the macro lens should help you take in the whole field, broaden your perspective, and see life’s grand patterns so you can dance with them.

If divination sends you to the sidelines, it’s time to rethink how you’re approaching it. Click To Tweet


Try this on for size: astrology, oracle cards, and even shamanic journeying are tools for stepping into the collective unconscious, for remembering that your life is archetypical and mythic. Yeah, it’s full of mundane tasks and stuff that gets fucked up beyond belief. I said mythic, not perfect.

But when it’s all said and done, we’re all—each and everyone of us—on a quest: to find love, to find comfort, to save the world, to see the face of God, to discover the meaning of life. Whatever your life’s quest, it’s like any good story: it has its ups and downs, its boredom, its pain, and its sorrow as well as its moments of transcendence and heroism.

Sometimes we lose the thread and the path ahead seems murky. We each have the tools we turn to in those moments: a good friend, a therapist, a parent or sibling… and for some, oracle cards, astrology readings, or shamanic journeys.

If you’re like me, sometimes you need to walk under the stars, to ramble in the mountains, to listen to the crash of the ocean’s waves in order to remember you’re a part of something greater. Tapping in with oracle cards, studying the stars, or slipping into a shamanic journey can do the same thing.

These ancient pathways have been carved into our psyches by generations of spiritual travelers; they contain the accreted wisdom of the human soul and lead us to a place Carl Jung referred to as the Collective Unconscious, the place where symbols and stories linger, waiting for you to blunder along and tap into their secrets.

These new knowings can be signposts on your trail, offering you peace and a moment of connection, or they can jar you into reassessing everything you thought you believed.

Whenever you are charting your future self, or whenever you learn something new about yourself and your life path—whether you learn it from a doctor, a teacher, your astrologer, or a deck of oracle cards—you have the creative challenge of deciding how to work with that new information, deciding how it will enrich instead of inhibit your life.

When challenges and obstacles are pointed out, you get to choose how they’re going to define you. Are you gonna let them stop you in your tracks or will they make you stretch and grow and get wily about how to work your way past them?

My motto: When a door slams, try a window. Click To Tweet


But that’s if you’re passionate about your path. If you’re in a moment where your road’s feeling lackluster and maybe untrue, then you can use new info to re-evaluate your future.

These moments of mapping—where you are suddenly given insight into the way ahead—are a great time to pause and reflect. To look at the course of the stars and listen to the whispers of the wind, to see how you relate to the world around you and how you want to relate moving forward.

Before you ask a friend or consult the cards or call your astrologer, begin with you.

What shape are you seeking for the year to come? Is it a gentle year for wander and wonder, or a year driven by a goal—a new job, or specific travel, or maybe even a book?

Plant these seeds for your future self. Commit to nurturing them.

Once you know what you want to grow this year, pull out your road map: consult with friends and experts, get your cards or your chart read, take a shamanic journey. Then compile the information you’ve gotten, both practical and spiritual.

Allow this new info to inform how you’re going to grow the seed of the year that you’ve planted in your heart. There’s no one way to do anything. Use your tools to find your way.

To my new friend, I say: if your heart wants to write a book, and you’re resonating with the idea that you’ll be having a more outward-facing and social year, then reconfigure your ideas about writing so both things can be true.

Brene Brown shares her anything-but-solitary book beginnings on The Beautiful Writers Podcast. I recently had a gaggle of girlfriends over to help me do final edits on The Illustrated Herbiary (which is looking luscious! The illustrations are amazing. I can’t believe I have to wait til August 7 to share it with you).

The point? Writer doesn’t have to mean solitary: whatever archetype you’re exploring for this year, redefine it so that you can step wholly in.

Grab your (free) New Year’s workbook to help you get your desires in order as we make this next turn around the sun. After you know what you most want to create in your life, pull out your oracle cards, check your astrology chart, or do a shamanic journey to help you get extra creative in crafting your future self and the year to come.

Free will, people. Guidance is not a dictatorship—use it to up your game and shape a year which sings to your soul.