Finally, after many many weeks, I got around to doing a reading using the "What are the next steps on my path?" reading that I grabbed from DIY WITCHERY on Tumblr. I used Maggie Stiefvater's Raven's Prophecy deck, meaning I used her Illuminating the Prophecy book as well as the Anthony Louis book I usually use. I had to fill out a lot of these new in my notebook, which means a lot of these haven't popped up in readings I've done for myself since I started taking notes.
The first card is the Last Step card, showing the step on the path I just came from. This card is the Nine of Swords, the Nightmare card, which represents paralysis and depression, indicating that whatever this reading is about (I didn't have a specific thing in mind, just life in general, maybe writing, maybe job stuff, I dunno) and I admit that this is pretty accurate for a lot of how I've felt for most of this year. I've done no fiction writing and made little attempt at career advancement, and wasted untold hours being generally tired and fretty and Extremely Online. I guess the positive thing here is that this is the last step and not the current one, meaning I'm moving on from the paralysis. I'm not quite sure what the lesson from the previous step is, except possibly that I should take better care of myself.
The second card, which is the center card in the second column, is the Current Step card. It is important to know the lessons from the current step because they provide tools that may be useful in later steps. The card here is the Ten of Cups, the Joy card. This card basically means that things are going well--not just that you're happy internally, which is the Nine of Cups, but that things are in harmony and balance externally: your relationships are all going splendidly, etc. The lesson for this card, according to Stiefvater, is to not squander it. Coming out of the last step of depression and paralysis, this indicates to me that I'm basically in a safe space now and have room to become productive and do stuff again, which I shouldn't waste. But what should I do? I've been pretty good at generally keeping myself busy with regular ongoing nonsense and not necessarily accomplishing anything--haven't finished my novel, haven't been studying poker or Gaelic, haven't actually done much concretely in terms of organizing within DSA. But now is a good time to do whatever it is I want to do with a good time, apparently.
This seems to be borne out by the next card, the Next Step card, which indicates where my path with lead me next. This third card is the middle card of the third column, and it's Major Arcana I: The Magician, who represents "Mastery of special knowledge, focused energy" in Louis and "Ability, versatility, control, connections" in Stiefvater. The Magician indicates that you've been acquiring knowledge or engaging in some form of disciplined training or otherwise preparing to do stuff, and it's time to take that specialized knowledge or experience and go forth and use it to do some stuff. It's an auspicious card for initiating projects. I think the progression among the first three cards is clear, at any rate; the big question left is, what project do I focus on?
The fourth card, which is the bottom card of the second column, is the Advice card. Here it is the Ten of Wands, "The Weight of Ambition," which is basically a card that says you're trying to do too much stuff and you need to figure out how to share some of the workload so you don't burn out. This is probably good advice for me in that it is something I have been bad at my entire life; I try to do too many things and I don't like to ask for help. This ties in with some readings I've had done in the recent-ish past that basically indicate I need to cut the pointless stuff out of my life and prioritize better if I want to get anything done. I am not good at this and have done a lot of waffling over what it is I ought to prioritize, although since the last reading that said that (Gillian did the reading for me several weeks ago) I have done better at wasting less time on social media and reading the news.
The sixth and seventh cards, which are the top card in the second and third columns, oddly enough, are supposed to be input from whatever spirits or deities or other entities you want to hear from. I'm secular so I have no idea who or what I want to hear from, but I want to hear it, so I guess these two cards are words from An Uncaring Universe or the Law of Narrative Irony or something. Which is odd, because having included them in the spread I can only include that they sound like they're from my parents. The Ten of Coins is the Material Abundance card, which basically indicates material security and family support, and provides a reminder to pay it forward and think about other people in the future. The Emperor indicates rules and authority, but he is a dude who has rules for reasons, and according to Stiefvater provides a reminder that, if you're going "to slough off the authority of an Emperor, you must find the Emperor within yourself." In other words, discipline.
So, in short: I've been not doing much lately, but I'm in a good place now and it's time to do stuff, regardless of if I feel inspired, and to do stuff in a disciplined and forward-thinking manner. The cards, needless to say, do not tell me what kind of project I should be focusing on.