Please share with us a little about you, describe yourself in five words?
Imaginative, reflective, soft, fiery and magnetic.
Reading those back they feel a little contradictory, which I quite enjoy. I read a quote today that made me feel very seen – “I must be a mermaid, I have no fear of great depth and a great fear of shallow living.” Anais Nin
Tell us about your journey? What brought you to where you are now?
A sudden ending of a relationship after the first lockdown kicked me in to a type of self motivation I didn’t know existed. In hindsight I’ve been exploring the suits of Tarot (mind, body, emotion, energy) in various ways throughout my life but never with a plan, I certainly didn’t imagine that what had been a very personal practice would become my job until I was forced, through both necessity and the sudden realisation I was a ghost in my own life, to shift fear and judgment out of the way and admit to myself what I really wanted. And more so what I was good at! I have always had a passion for mental health and wellbeing but never felt I fit within any of the roles I saw, last year I realised maybe that was exactly why I should try and carve out a space for myself as a practitioner. In my early adult life I was an actress then moved in to production organising large events. Facilitating a shared human experience is in my bones and will always remain a focus of what I do, but I need them to mean more than just promoting a brand or business I have no connection to. At the height of my production career when I was burnt out and highly stressed I started exploring spirituality, I started listening to my body and contemplating myself outside of the confines of my ego which ultimately lead me to Tarot.
What has been your biggest inspiration with the work that you do and share?
I am lucky enough to be witness to other people’s stories all the time now, I have become fascinated by both the shared archetypal themes that run through all our lives and the beauty of each nuanced version. Hearing other people, mostly women’s, stories of fortitude, grace and constant commitment to self-discovery is both my inspiration and my lifeline.
What sparks joy in your life that truly lights you up? (This could be big or small).
The ability to change and grow, being able to throw myself in to something and learn with the awareness that tomorrow I might experience something new which will turn that on its head and expand me further. Also stories in all their forms, I adore seeing life play out in front of me, the mundane and the extreme. Hence acting, hence events, hence Tarot.
What are your favourite soul or self-care practices right now that you can share with us?
When I started doing Tarot professionally it took what was a daily reflection practice in to something else and it took me a while to find my way back to the nucleolus of what it gave me. Now I enjoy using the cards as inspiration to ask myself questions, I rarely answer the questions, at least not in a succinct way, but I find the medicine is within the question itself. I can also lean in to my weirdness a lot more now I live alone, hopefully I always will.
During these times that we are experiencing as a collective, in what ways are you seeing the importance of community?
I think these times have brought the need for community to front and centre, to me it feels like a chance to look for where community exists in my life and remember to give that the attention it deserves. I feel I finally understand, through what I do now, why service is fundamental to most versions of religion; by supporting others we ultimately support ourselves. It feels like an exciting time to reconsider all of this and look at both the beautiful progressive elements of our society this has highlighted and also where we need to reimagine elements of the systems and structures we exist within.
Inspire our Breathe Love community, share an affirmation, or favourite quote, poem, song or playlist?
Words from Jessica Dore, a social worker in America who promotes the use of therapeutic Tarot. In the most isolated moments of the last few months, I found great comfort in them.
“What I’ve always loved about Tarot cards is their power to instantly dissolve the illusion of I am alone in my particular suffering. No one has ever had suffering quite like mine. And because of that, there is no known cure.”
“Hearing other people, mostly women’s, stories of fortitude, grace and constant commitment to self-discovery is both my inspiration and my lifeline.”
What was the last sign you received from the universe (if you had one)?
I am fascinated by the idea of synchronicity, which to my understanding is the exploration of a communication between our internal world and what we experience in the external world. This morning felt like spring, I felt inspired and went for a long walk whilst voice noting my friend. I was getting excited about leaning in to lots of new things, including my understanding of Celtic traditions and my own fiery nature which I’m realizing I’ve often dampened and hidden. When I looked down I was stood over a four-leaved clover pendant on a necklace. To me, this felt like validation and encouragement.
Share with us something that you are really proud of?
My resilience and grace under pressure.
What will you never take for granted?
The importance of listening to my intuition.
What is your favourite practice that connects you to your heart ki/energy? (Please share a tip, tool or technique to support our wellbeing?
Recently I have been practising moving my awareness from my mind to my heart and observing how that changes my understanding of my current situation. There have been a few times I have felt mentally overwhelmed or trapped in a thought loop and this has brought a sense of calm and control to the situation.
Rest the palms of your hands on your heart centre, take a soft breath and share with us a message from your heart?
Create space so you can hear what your body is trying to tell you.
Thank YOU for breathing love with us Sophie.
What’s coming up next for you?
I am offering one to one readings, group explorations of Tarot and workshops which aim to find practical ways for us to work within the four suits. As soon as the world opens back up again expect to see some exciting live events!
Tune in to Sophie offerings:
Sophie Bickerstaff is a Tarot reader who started Oil the Hinges in 2020 in response to the first lockdown. Through her 121 readings and group workshops, she aims to break some of the stereotypes around Tarot and highlight how this practice can aid our mental wellbeing and personal development.
Stay tuned for more Breathe Love interviews.