Esme Wang

3 things other bloggers don't want you to know (and other thoughts on being a real person)

Confession: it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve written a “real” post. Yes, I’ve spent a good chunk of that time soaking up the last days of my apprenticeship with Hilary and working on a few exciting new projects, but there’s also a nagging feeling that’s been keeping me away.

In truth, I’ve spent a lot of that time mulling over the blogging industry, the metaphysical community, and where I fit into them. I’m tired of the perfectly polished photos and cliche advice that dominate so much of the conversation, and I’m craving vulnerability. So, I’ll start.

These are the secrets other bloggers don’t want you to know. Listen closely.

 

Those styled pictures look nothing like their real life.

Elegance is like pornography: “I know it when I see it.” I have a deep and abiding obsession with good design, but creating it doesn’t come easily. Still, when Jacquelyn Tierney started her #MAGICMAKERMAY Instagram challenge I thought I’d try my hand at replicating some of the gorgeous shots I’d seen on my feed. Within a few days, it was abundantly clear that was easier said than done. One photo might take a half and hour, setting up the white foamboard amid my messy living room and styling the items I’d collected from throughout the house.

I love my home, but it’s far from perfectly curated. One day, when I saw a sparkling beam of sunlight streaming in through the kitchen window, I felt disappointed. How could I capture and share that light when there was a stack of dirty dishes in the sink? By the time I washed them, the sun would have moved on.

What did I do? I took the picture anyways. Here’s the caption:

“In reality, our kitchens don't look like an Anthropologie catalog. There are dishes to be done and messes to be cleaned. There are also a million lovely things those pictures miss, like the piece of Spanish moss from my beloved Charleston that sits on the windowsill, the bottle of Dom a dear friend gave us as a wedding gift, or the antique vase I got on a trip to visit my grandmother who's long since passed away…It's not always pretty, but it is beautiful.”

 

They have a day job (or a rich partner).

Let me preface this by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having someone else support you, financially or otherwise, in your creative endeavors; however, there’s something disconcerting about receiving income from other sources and presenting yourself a self-made business guru. If scientists and other professionals are expected to declare their conflicts of interest, shouldn’t we be held to the same standard of excellence?

There’s a pervasive myth that if you “quit your day job”, the powers that be will come to your aid and allow you to manifest the money you need to survive. While I’ve seen magic happen (and it does happen), it’s not that simple. I’ve seen just as many people make stupid decisions based on this advice, and I worry that this lack of transparency is what’s caused the myth to become so rampant. It’s alluring, certainly more so than the idea that you’ll have to work your ass off and save your pennies for years before you make the leap.

When you’re transparent about what part your online business plays in your life, you build trust within the community and allow people to appreciate your accomplishments for what they are. Theresa Reed does an amazing job at this. So does Esmé Wang. There are plenty of people out there who walk their talk, but on the whole, we could be doing much better.

 

They have no idea what they're doing.

Here’s the thing: none of us do. The fact that anyone can do this is at once the industry’s greatest strength and most complicated weakness. Blogging and e-commerce are incredibly fast-paced industries that are evolving and changing faster than other bloggers and business owners can write list posts on how to keep up, and as a result, it takes an incredible amount of discernment to sort through the bullshit. Luckily, it’s also easier than ever for experts to share their gifts of knowledge with the world (and get paid for it).

So, what’s a mystic to do? Take everything with a grain of salt. Build your online relationships slowly and carefully. Finally (and perhaps most importantly), listen to your intuition. You already know the answers.

 

Phew. It feels good to get that off my chest. Even with all that said, I still love this shit. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have written two books, connected with a vibrant community, and met some of the most incredible teachers and soul sisters here (and in person). To say it’s been worth it is a wild understatement, which is why I’m going even deeper with The Midheaven in the last half of 2015.

 

Here’s what I’m going to be up to:

I wanted to wait to tell you, but I don’t think I can stand it anymore! I’m working with my soul twin, Jacquelyn Tierney, to give The Midheaven a complete visual makeover. She’s the Chanel of web design, and I can’t wait.

I’m pairing up with another magic maker to bring you something amazing in star-studded style (hint!). It’s been in the works for a few months now, and it just keeps getting better and better.

I have a super secret new astrology offering in beta right now that I can’t wait to reveal later this year. I’ts going to be magical (hint hint!). Mark your calendars for November.

Finally, the lineup for the rest of this year’s Cosmic Chat interviews is going to blow your mind. I’m totally humbled by everyone’s generosity and you’re going to fall in love with their stories.

This summer is going to be HOT!

Until then, I’ll leave you with this prayer from Briana Saussy:

“May you have a heart that knows the right way to go with wisdom and discernment.”

Magical Miscellany: 4.20.2015

There's just a little over a month left of my Tarot Apprentice mentorship with Hilary Parry. Where did the time go? It's been an incredible experience, and you can bet I'll be putting my head down over the next few weeks to make the most of our remaining time together.

Do you have a soulful biz dream? These three questions will help you get clear and go pro.

Need inspiration? Stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius is always relevant.

Susannah Conway shares the lessons she learned from nine years of blogging. Spoiler alert: they're excellent.

What will I be missing if I choose to stay?

You survived tax season! Now, what financial records do you need to keep?

What is your blog's "bounce rate", and why does it matter? Sarah Morgan gives you the lowdown.

Here's how to make the most of that book or course and actually apply it to your life.

I really admire this post from Grace Bonney at Design*Sponge on what scares her. Vulnerability is sexy. (Also, if you haven't downloaded her podcast After the Jump, make it happen! It's supremely useful and insightful, especially for creative professionals.)

Blogging is a genre, and don't you forget it.

I firmly believe that everyone should work in the service industry at least once in their life. Apparently, the writers over at The Kitchn do too!

When you avoid giving negative feedback, you may be hurting more than you're helping.

People don't buy because what you do is awesome. People buy because it makes them feel awesome.

I love Tabby Beasly's post on Little Red Tarot about grouping the astrological houses in your birth chart.

Curious how tarot pro Theresa Reed does it all? She shared her daily routine from wake-up time to wine-o-clock.

This post on the trickster archetype and why it's important to have a sense of humor about spirituality is hilarious. Enjoy.

Magical Miscellany: 3.02.2015

On Friday I started Esmé Wang's beautiful new course,Where's the Electricity. It's a guide to getting creatively unstuck and refining the obsessions and themes that fuel your work, made for artists of all kinds. Esmé's vivid writing coupled with the lovely audio are well worth the price of admission (it's only $30!).

What I wish I'd known before writing a book. (I'd loved to have read this before I started Elemental Astrology!)

Self-help becoming self-hindrance? Let's fix that.

Jacquelyn Tierney's 20 Questions feature is genius! It's a Cosmopolitan-style interview with up-and-coming modern mystics. You're gonna love it.

As many of you know, I work at a major university as a research administrator when I'm not reading the stars. Do you have a day job too? This post on loving life at the office was insightful and a great reminder that your 9-to-5 is what you make of it.

On gender bending the tarot. 

The 10 easy ways to automate your blog and business from Sarah Morgan are a total lifesaver for me behind the scenes.

How do you create a brand that feels like "you"?

Why am I not doing the one thing I really want to do?

Try these 5 easy ways to make your bedroom a magical hideaway and make your boudoir a sacred space!

I know I already mentioned Esmé Wang once, but her sneak peek into her magical morning ritual is too good not to share.

It might get harder before it gets better (but it won’t be harder, forever).

Annika's Sacred Podcast always brightens my morning commute. In the most recent episode, she features none other than The Tarot Lady herself: Theresa Reed. Listen up!

Magical Miscellany: 2.09.2015

Here's another Mercury Rx throwback: I snapped this photo outside of Trader Joe's a few months ago, and it's been my phone background ever since. I can't resist a good sunset.

Temporary discomfort. It's worth it.

Culture is shifting from purchasing material goods to buying experiences... and we're happier for it.

I'm usually resistant anything using the word "manifest", but this goregous manifestation how-to from Louise Androlia is practical and deep.

What do spirits want?

Is Jupiter your bliss?

This guest post on identity politics in the tarot by up-and-comer Benebell Wen is beautiful, thoughtful, and a great reminder to all readers!

I love this post from Paige Zaferiou's How to Practice Moon Magick series: pay attention to yourself.

What should you say (or not say) to someone experiencing chronic illness? Grace Quantock speaks candidly about the do's and don'ts.

Want the best love spell? Do this.

Want to grow your Twitter audience? Try this challenge from Sarah Morgan at XO Sarah!

Esmé Wang's post on how to be productive while living with chronic illness (or any sort of unpredictable life situation) is simply excellent. I can't wait for part two!