An Interview With Nikki of State of Wild Grace

Every time my daughter tries to hack my computer, Nikki’s reading pops up in iTunes and echoes through my house.

The first few times this happened, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck in response to the beautiful synchronicity that her words confirmed. Even though my visceral response has calmed, I still stop and listen whenever I hear the familiar “Hi, Jessi!” project from my laptop microphones. It’s metaphorical music to my ears.

Perhaps it’s because she incorporates astrology into her readings. Perhaps it’s the tone of her voice and how on point she is. Regardless, I love the way she reads, and I wanted to find out more about the woman behind the magickal audio reading. So grab a cup of tea with me and see what makes Nikki so special.

What came first—tarot or astrology?

Tarot decks have been trying to get into my hands since I was about 13 but I shunned them until my early 20s. Reading a whole lot of fantasy (and watching a lot of Charmed) I was definitely interested in witchy aesthetics growing up. But I wasn’t very serious about it.

When I did finally let cards into my life it was around the same time as I was beginning to explore astrology and the I Ching.

My personal life was in full meltdown mode. My psychic life was wild. Intellectually, I couldn’t handle and I was desperately grasping for some kind of wisdom that would confirm to me that I wasn’t going completely off the deep-end!

I have to say that astrology is what truly captured my imagination first. I was lucky enough to find a fabulous teacher who I really resonated with in my city (Wellington, NZ). So I was fortunate to have proper mentorship as well as a small community that I could connect with regularly.

With tarot… I just kind of dabbled for a long time while I wrestled with my own dilemmas as to what I was even doing with them. It took me some time to intellectually reconcile my use of tarot (and astrology for that matter) for myself.

Discovering the online tarot community in the last 3 or 4 years has been a massive blessing for me and really galvanized my tarot practice.

The opportunity for networking and learning is so great for those of us who otherwise are slinging cards alone in our bedrooms!

It’s really since then that I’ve begun to bring these two topics together – for myself, and now for others.

What would you say is the most important astrological aspect that most laymen or dabblers don’t pay enough attention to?

It’s more of a pet peeve than anything else but I get really frustrated by people who seem to blame planets for their troubles. I don’t find it to be a very sophisticated way of working with astrology at all.

Astrology can provide you with a lot of vocabulary to help you understand yourself in a very nuanced and dynamic manner. It’s an awesome model of reality and can be super useful in a myriad of ways.

The danger is that people take that map and confuse it for the territory. They might start saying that the map, or a certain cosmic object, is the reason why they’re having a crap time or are particularly blessed.

Or they say that their life is going to shit because some planet’s retrograde.

The temptation for me is to say: No. Your life is going to shit, because you haven’t got your shit together at the moment. Yes, you can see the patterns using astrology, but that’s not to say that’s why it’s happening. Stop projecting; stop finding something new to be afraid of; and take responsibility.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel that people who explore any system – be it astrology, tarot, or anything – should allow themselves good time to consider exactly what it is they are working with and how they are working with it.

What are some of the guiding influences to your approach to tarot?

For me it’s all about empowerment. If someone walked away from a reading from me feeling really disheartened or afraid I would consider that a massive failure on my part.

Essentially I believe that if you get a reading from someone, or you’re giving yourself one, and you’re freaking the fuck out then you’re doing it wrong and you should seriously rethink your approach.

Tarot and other tools can help us develop narratives that help us process and see our situations clearly and compassionately and can even lead us towards healing.

I don’t intend to sugar-coat or bypass any of the darkest stuff at all. I just feel like if you use these tools to their fullest extent then you can shadow work your way through that tricky territory.

And that there’s awesome power to be unleashed in the re-frame.

I also believe that tarot (and astrology) is a significant cultural inheritance that we were way too close to being entirely disenfranchised from. This is why, as well as offering readings, I think it’s really important to share knowledge and teach others how to explore these tools for themselves.

Your website mentions that you’re currently studying for a diploma in spiritual counseling. What does spirituality look like to you?

For me being a spiritual person, or having a strong sense of spirituality, is analogous to living with a sense of meaning and purposefulness that includes but goes beyond materialism.

It’s about finding and developing perspectives that have ethical, intellectual and poetic integrity for you. Perspectives that allow you to develop the courage to lean into life and to fully engage with all of it.

Sometimes it looks like cards and crystals and incense.Sometimes it looks like actively trying to be a better friend or lover.

What would you say has been your greatest challenge in terms of your psycho-spiritual journey, and how did tarot and astrology help you work through it?

I mentioned my initial meltdown that let me to tarot and astrology… Well, they really helped me to sort myself out. I was able to connect with grander, deeper narratives that helped me deal with reality and all the traumatic weirdness that I was going through.

Prior to finding divination I had no adequate frameworks that could help me to negotiate my experience.

I’m far from being fully enlightened or highly evolved. But I truly believe that I wouldn’t be as emotionally fulfilled; as intellectually stimulated; or as intimately connected with my own psyche had I never started working with these powerful systems.

If you’d like to learn more about Nikki and her services, visit her newly revamped website.

Much Love, Beauties,

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