Sacred Self Care with the Moon: An Interview with Aarona Lea
Hello and welcome! Today I am so honored and excited to be interviewing the amazing Aarona Lea. She’s the author and co-creator of The Moon Deck – An intuitive emotional health deck of cards that’s reached thousands of women globally.
Aarona’s Moon Deck has really set forth a movement of affirmation and ritual. She is also an embodied intuition and ritual teacher, demystifying intuition, ritual, self love and personal growth.
I am so thrilled to have you here today Aarona, because I have worked with the Moon Deck myself now for about a year and a half. It’s been such an important presence in my life. I’m just so grateful that you’re here speaking with all of us today.
Aarona Lea: Thank you so much for having me. Thank you. Thank you. We were just talking for a little bit, just getting to know each other, and it’s just great to meet you. Like you said, I think we’re kindred spirits.
Ashley: Definitely. So I would love you to tell us a little bit about your personal journey and how you got to where you are now.
I think your story is so interesting; how the moon deck was created and born from your journey. I’m so excited to hear more about it.
I’ve been working with the moon deck personally for about a year and a half. It’s been such an integral part of my own personal journey in connecting with the moon and with myself and my intuition.
I think that you have such a compelling story. Your personal journey is one that was really interesting for me to read about. I feel really connected with it and understand how this culminated in the creation of the moon decks.
Aarona: I would say the teachings of the moon deck started years and years before I ever knew I was going to actually make a deck…
I’d say a lot of this work personally started as a child. Professionally, it’s been going on for the last 20 years. Oftentimes I say that what started for me for survival literally became my passion, and eventually my profession.
So for the teachings of the deck, I feel like there’s a lot of different women in the deck and a lot of different ages in the deck. They’re like voices speaking to different aspects of myself. They’re the teachings and validation and embrace and understanding that I always craved. As I was writing it, other voices came through.
There was some channeling. There was a lot of research. There was a lot of digging into old journals – It was definitely a combination.
But aside from all of that, it also came from my own recovery through healing and just understanding my place in the world, which I’m still learning. But that was always a deep mission of mine.
I also have been a yoga teacher for 15 years. When I would teach these big scale yoga and music events, I would oftentimes hand out different Oracle cards or even paint words on paper and hand them out, because cards were having such an impact in my life. I wanted to give that to my students. After a short while, I started to see the impact on them. They would come back in my life a year later or a few weeks later and just say, I still have that card or that word on my desk or on my dashboard, or in my journal, and it’s really helping me a lot.
Eventually, I realized I wanted to create my own deck and gather all my one-liners and my journals and key phrases that I know were impactful for me or the people I was working with.
And that’s what logistically propelled the start of working on it. I approached Andy, Andrea K, (who’s the illustrator and my business partner and one of my best friends) in 2014, and she said yes, absolutely!
I had been sitting in a New Moon Women’s Circle for a couple of years at that point already, which is what shaped some of the organization of the deck being moon-focused, being ritual-based, and being woman-focused. Although we do have some men who use the deck because the teachings are truly universal. For a man who uses it, you can either flip the language or just apply it to your feminine.
So I was sitting with Andy in a cafe and I was like, “I don’t know. I just know I want it to be about the moon or something.” And then I was like, “The moon deck. It’s called the moon deck!” right there I was like, “I’m just going to buy the URL and add it to my 30 URLs”. And so we have it. And it was free somehow. So that’s kind of what started that side of it.
The deeper teachings definitely stem from a young woman who was figuring out life, who struggled with trauma, who had a 10 year battle with bulimia and recovered, and who had a deep connection to spirit and magic at a very young age.
I’ve always been someone who wanted a lot of connection and communication in my life. I’m always navigating that. Being a visual and experiential learner, I loved cards because they were something that I could touch, something I could look at.
I also love that a big idea can be shrunk down into this creative, beautiful image and a sentence. It helped me to have something tangible and to be able to get out of the chaos of my freaking spinning analytical mind. It helped me when I was having anxiety or feeling afraid or overwhelmed or in the deep throws of healing stuff that was difficult to heal. Even just as a daily ritual to remind me of my intuition, my inner voice, my connection to spirit, and my mental and emotional health.
I guess, in a nutshell, my practice as a yogi for 24 years, being a student, being a teacher, being a healer, needing healing. All of that. It all contributed and it’s all in the deck.
Ashley: That’s one of the things I love so much about this deck is it really embodies a journey. And I think just as much as that was born of your own personal journey, it’s something that so many of us can relate to.
For me personally, I started working with the moon deck shortly after I had to have a hysterectomy. So I had a full hysterectomy at age 29 and it was really interesting for me. I never wanted children. It wasn’t something I felt like I had to have in my life. But suddenly when the choice was completely taken away from me, it was something that I did struggle with, and I grieved over.
Not even necessarily like that loss of that choice, but for me, it was somehow feeling less feminine and feeling like less of a woman because so many different circles out there really placed focus on it. Especially in the spiritual community, our connection to the feminine through the world, and I didn’t have one anymore.
So for me, it was about this journey of healing that part of myself and coming to terms with my body and integrating the changes that I was seeing in myself personally and really trying to figure out how I fit in at this point.
I became so absorbed with connecting to the moon, as it is this amazing source of Divine Feminine.
It became such an important part of my life to connect with lunar energy. Through that connection and through personal spiritual practice and ritual and ceremony, I found the moon deck.
For me, it was one of those things that I think created a lot of healing because it did represent that journey. Although my journey was very different to yours, I still felt that I went through all those same things. All those same kind of archetypal energies that are represented in the moon deck. All those same struggles and challenges that we just face as women or as humans. It becomes the source of inspiration and strength to draw upon.
So that’s one of the reasons I was so excited to speak with you today because I know like how big of an accomplishment it is to go from that idea, that point of inception where this idea comes to you, to actually put it out there into the world as something that can inspire and help other people. So, thank you for that. I’m really grateful.
Aarona: I’m sure you know this – When you make something, you know you need to make it but you really don’t know what’s gonna happen. It could just be made and you get it out of your system. And that’s that. Or it can become a movement or it can touch a few people and all of it is worth something valuable. We’re very freaking grateful that this did grow legs. I’ve done a lot of projects in my life that had their moment and their peak and then they kind of fizzled out, and that’s just what happens.
I’m so grateful that The Moon Deck has her own kind of soul. She knows what she wants. She guides the business a lot.
I say it like she’s a separate thing. It’s us, obviously, but it’s it does feel like there’s a strong spirit behind it that wanted to come through and wanted to have these conversations. Like you said, there’s so many like us who want that space where we can truly grow spiritually and not be on a high horse or put someone else on a pedestal. It’s so not about that.
The spiritual practice in my eyes is: we’re still gonna screw up, we’re still gonna make mistakes, we’re still gonna have ugly days, our behaviors are not always gonna be perfect. The spiritual practice and these tools help us pivot back into alignment.
It’s not that those ugly days or those embarrassing mistakes or those difficult-to-swallow reflections aren’t going to still show up in our life through whatever form. It’s about how quickly we admit to it. How quickly are we willing to listen and re-center and pivot to find a better way, which might take time, depending on how deeply rooted some of those things are. For me, the moon deck was really a way to talk about that in a way that didn’t make us feel shame.
I think shame is something that so many of us carry. So a big goal of myself as a teacher and speaker on these topics, is that we transform shame into acceptance.
It’s about having a deep acceptance of ourselves and our journey and others, transforming shame into acceptance, self-loathing to self-love, anxiety to presence, and depression to activation.
Like you said with the moon, she represents all of these cycles. We can look at the seasons and we look at the sky and we sort of acknowledge the beauty in all of her phases. So how can we acknowledge the beauty in all of our phases? Whether we’re feeling like the waning moon for a few days or the dark moon or the full moon. There’s gonna be days where we’re out and about, and there’s gonna be days where we’re needing to stay in.
Instead of judging those moments, which I’m still working on, we say like, “Wow, there’s an inherent beauty and wisdom and a certain way to tap into my intuition in this phase. Let me be curious about that and explore that and really work on healing.” Transform that inner dialogue that can beat us up sometimes or take us down.
That judgment that we have on ourselves shows up in our relationships in life too. So I think it’s such a deep ongoing practice of surrender and using these tools like the moon deck, meditation, working with crystals, journaling, getting outside. Even just making your bed every morning – whatever the ritual is.
From the mundane to the mystical, there’s value in all of your rituals.
Whether using a deck or lighting a candle, they come together like threads, and those threads – whether it’s a daily ritual or a weekly ritual or a monthly or even a seasonal ritual – they come together like threads, and these threads create a net. That net is what holds us through thick and thin. Through the ups and downs, through the good days and bad days. And so it’s not that we can’t remove some of those threads and replace them with new threads, that’s always gonna happen, but that we do have at least a couple of daily non-negotiables that are essential threads.
It doesn’t mean those threads can’t evolve in six months or in a new season, but that there’s something you show up for every day. Because in the chaos and the changing of life, there’s this one thing you can trust and lean into no matter what. For me, that’s meditation or sitting at my altar. It could be walking your dog with a hot cup of tea and leaving your phone behind. Whatever it is. You know. The sky’s the limit.
You want to choose rituals that aren’t something you think you should do, but something that feels accessible and doable. It should provide an ease and support your nervous system.
It supports your body. It supports your spirit. It supports your mind. It might be that class you go to weekly, or that you have brunch with an inspiring friend once a week, or you take a trip once a season. Anything that works for you.
Ashley: I’m so glad that you brought this up. Because I think so many people hold the misconception that ritual has to be something that’s reserved for certain times or for special occasions. Ritual can be a daily practice and should be a daily practice because you have a richer life experience when rituals are incorporated into the day to day.
Like you said, even if it’s something that you create for yourself. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose it to be. It’s really about finding something for you. For me, it’s definitely meditation. Meditation is a big one. If I don’t have at least 10 minutes a day, I feel like a different person.
Obviously, I love the days I get a bit more but 10 is my non-negotiable minimum. It doesn’t matter if it’s the last thing I do before I go to sleep because I haven’t gotten to it all day. I’m still going to make that time to do it because it’s something for me.
I’m just wondering, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of ritual, but we also kinda just touched on intuition. I was wondering if, in your experience at being this person that I think is so inspiring and empowering…
Is there a way that intuition and ritual can be brought together really simply?
Like you mentioned earlier, maybe just pulling a card a day or a few cards a day. I mean, that seems like a really logical way to do this. But are there ways in your experience that you’ve seen intuition and ritual come together?
Aarona: Yeah, I think pulling the card one is– whether it’s the moon deck or any deck — is a good goal. Even if you only have three minutes a day, you can show up. And and I truly mean that. Of course, more time is great, but there’s just gonna be those times in life that you don’t have more time or that you don’t have the will to give yourself more time or maybe this is brand new territory for you.
Just take three minutes a day. Whether that’s journaling in your book, your journal pages or picking a card. Three minutes. That is meaningful.
We don’t have to have an all or nothing mentality. And to be honest with you, if I’m totally transparent, meditation is my absolute non-negotiable. But I’ve been really slack this week, and I’ve been feeling like just a little bit overwhelmed this week. Ironically, it’s the time I really need it. I haven’t actually skipped this many days in months. It’s been so many months. I’m feeling the impact of it. And it’s actually the time where I need to be showing up the most. It’s not a perfect practice, but it’s sincere. It doesn’t ever have to be perfect.
Perfection… we can just lose that word right now because I think it does more harm than good.
It’s about the sincerity we bring to our prayer. It’s about the sincerity we bring to our ritual. It’s about the honesty we bring. And that’s what I’ve been doing. I haven’t been sitting at my altar quite as long as usual, but I did sit this morning. I lit the candle and I had a small prayer. That’s where I think the intuition comes in. Trusting the wisdom of our body and the wisdom of our spirit and knowing that the little things really do count.
I actually do a workshop every once in a while called ‘the power of intuitive ritual’. We basically focus on that through various embodiment practices. We work with a living altar and do different writing prompts and shares and exercises. It’s really to encourage people to trust. I just think so much of this is like, “Why don’t we trust ourselves? Why do we doubt ourselves? Why do we procrastinate doing the things that are good for us?”
I don’t have the answers to that. I don’t know if it’s conditioning or there’s a lot of intense stuff going on collectively right now. So it’s about really finding our center. It might require more work during certain times, but that’s okay.
I think my biggest dream for myself and for everyone is that we really step into this practice of deeper trust, both of ourselves and the unfolding of the universe, and of self-love.
I can only imagine a planet where people truly love themselves and truly accept themselves. All the way down to the core. All the way deep into the many stories we’ve been carrying for lineages and lineages. And that we just somehow move through that to come to that place of deep trust and deep love. Still living in the world and showing up in the ways that we need to. I think for those of us who are empathic, and who are sensitive and who are deeply spiritual and who are having these conversations, who are listening here — we do feel those things deeply.
It’s a balancing act for sure. If you run a business on top of it, as we were talking about, that’s even more facets.
In regards to the act of intuitive ritual, I think there’s two sides of it…
There’s the daily rituals, so we can just show up a few minutes a day and be intuitive. Listen to the big yeses. Show up for the small things if that’s all you can do right now, but do show up. And prayer takes one minute, or intention setting. You have to turn on your imagination. You get the watercolors out and you start to paint. Whatever it is.
Then there’s also the other side of ritual and ceremony. That is if we go to the origin of what ceremony and ritual is, it is a bit more sacred than the three-minute journaling or the making my bed every morning. You see in other cultures in the world where it is that deeper reverence for ritual and prayer and ceremony that does require maybe a little more effort and preparation.
I think there’s room for both. There’s that kind of like very ceremonial, ritualistic action that has this deeper reverence, like we’ve been carrying it for eons. Then there’s the sort of day to day rituals that maybe are a little lighter and brighter, or our meditation practices that are those threads that keep that net of sacred self-care alive for us.
Ashley: I love that.
We can think of the more dedicated, traditional rituals as those thicker ropes that create the net. They’re the things that really give it structure. But if we don’t do the little things in between, the small threads, then our net is full of holes.
Ashley: I just really love how you shared this vision for all of us that what if everyone had that deep inner trust in self-love and really loved themselves to the core. The thing that I think is the biggest takeaway from that is that we all have the power to do that for ourselves. It really does start with us and we’re able to do that.
I feel like the more that you do for yourself and the more that you are attentive to what you really need on a soul level, the easier it is to love yourself and trust yourself. You won’t have as much of the negative self-thought or negative behavior patterns because you’re instead consciously choosing things that fill you up and that make you feel whole and healthy and loved.
I love that what you said about being able to just pivot. Like when we realize like, “Oh, I’ve gotten a little off track here.” Because sometimes we don’t realize for a while, right? Or we end up in burnout or with chronic health problems or whatever. But sometimes we realize a lot sooner than that. And that’s one of those things that just comes through life experience and practice and being more mindful and attentive.
Now Aarona, we always talk about crystals on the show. It’s my most favorite thing. And before we began recording we were talking about how crystals are really a part of your personal practice.
I was wondering if you could share a couple of the crystals that you’ve been working with lately?
Aarona: Yeah, so I’ve been a huge collector of crystals since I was a child. I don’t think I knew what I was getting myself into. Honestly, I just freaking loved them. I used to have a collection of them and I had a big case on my wall that I displayed them in. Somehow I don’t have all those crystals anymore. However, I created a new collection.
I work with quartz quite a bit.
That’s all over my house. Something else I’ve been really into is my selenite wand. My favourite one is kinda short and stocky and it feels like a true wand or talking stick. I love it. When I’m away from home I use it as my traveling piece. I used to bring like a whole freakin altar when I went traveling! But now I create a little mini altar when I travel. It just makes anywhere feel like home and gives me my things to work with.
The selenite wand actually represents Celine, the moon goddess.
It has this kind of glow on it that very much looks like a lunar vibe. I was meditating with it every day in Bali. I had a lot of different downloads with this one, it helped me through a lot of things. Sometimes I would even sleep with it in my bed under my pillow. Then when I came home, it felt so charged with that trip. So I kept working within and sleeping with it. I recently shifted to some new ones, but this particular wand remains one of my favorites. If you do get them kinda short and stocky, just wrap them up in fabric and they’re easy to travel with.
Another go-to is more of a talisman that I’ve had since my first Peru trip in 2009. This guy goes with me everywhere. I don’t actually know what the stone is though! It’s a white stone with lines. I’m not sure what it is. But these two are my number one alter travel pieces. Even when I’m doing Oracle readings with the moon deck, whether it’s online or in-person, these guys come with me.
Ashley: I love that you just took a few things.
I find when we have an amazing collection of crystals, we have all these options available to us, so we don’t necessarily get to work super in-depth with a particular piece and form a real relationship with it.
It sounds like because you kind of limited yourself to what you take, they became your power pieces that embodied the vibration of that whole trip. I feel like that’s a lesson we can follow in our day to day lives: form a relationship with your crystals and really work deeply and intensely with just a few of them to form those relationships. Let them be there to support you in your journey and what you’re doing.
I also love that you tied it all back to the moon goddess Celine with that beautiful selenite piece. What better piece to work with when you’re pulling some cards from the moon deck than a selenite.
Aaron: Yeah. Totally.
Ashley: Selenite, moonstone, I mean, those both have great lunar energy to them.
Aaron: I often find myself following intuitive ritual, and I really believe in it.
Like, I didn’t really know all of the details about the piece I’m using during readings with the moon deck. I know the deck so well, so I intuitively sense what piece to use with it. Afterwards if I look the piece up, I’m often shocked with how spot on it was.
That right there is following and trusting those impulses and your inner voice. Is it always going to be spot on? No. But that’s how we figure out which voice it was. Because sometimes that intuition can come in and then another voice comes in pretty quick. So it just takes practice. It’s a lifestyle of paying attention and following those inner prompts. Then over time, you start to get to know what each voice sounds like.
We’re living in a time in this country that’s a little soul sick and doesn’t treat spirituality like a real topic. It’s treated as something on the side of science, but I’m like, why isn’t what we can’t see real? Isn’t what we feel real? It’s in the stories of our ancestors. There are intuitive things that I feel. And sometimes I don’t need proof. But then the proof comes out and that’s what I felt. Just trusting that is a superpower of woman – and men – but I think especially women.
As women continue to rise, that intuitive instinct is going to get stronger as well.
However this is not just handed to us. Unless you were raised in a situation, which some people thankfully are, where that was really nurtured and embraced. Most people really have to learn and reteach ourselves and look at role models in our lives who can act as a map that we can emulate.
Ashley: That’s so true. You mentioned that you sometimes do readings for people? You actually have Moon Day live Oracle readings. I was wondering…
Could we get a little sample of your readings? Could you pull a card for us?
Aarona: Sure! Yeah, so I have the moon deck here. We have it in the wooden box. As you can see, for those of you watching the video, it’s a handmade box. We do also have a beautiful paper box for easy travels. It also comes with a guidebook that is super thorough. Some people just carry the book around and will just open a page randomly when they need a little pick me up. Each card has a write up as well as a ritual in the book. Then in the back, there’s a whole section on DIY your own moon circle, how to work with the seven directions and build an altar, etc.
So let’s just take a deep breath in. Go into the breath. Feel your inhale. Feel your exhale. Feel your center. Now I’ll just shuffle the cards and we’ll pick one. Do your best to stay with your breath and set your own intention for today. Or even just for this card reading.
What is it that you want clarity on or what type of essence do you want to feel connected to?
So the card that we got is boundaries, which is a really perfect card for everything we’ve been talking about today. Coming into that trust of self and coming into the sacred practice of self-love and self-care is a form of healthy boundaries. The card says healthy boundaries keep me centered and balanced.
So the picture is a woman, that’s taken from a photo of me actually. Sometimes we had to take photos of each other to get a certain posture. Andy could then do the art and have a visual. So she’s sitting with crossed legs. She has hands on her knees with palms up. She has another pair of arms. One hand on belly and one on heart, and then another pair of arms up in the air with each hand holding a crescent. One is white and one is black for the Yin and Yang. This is again about raining that energy in and saying yes to ourselves – and sometimes no.
We have to find the balance between yes or no because boundaries can be constantly evolving and different people need different things.
For some of us, our boundaries might be that the front and back doors are wide open. Anything and anyone can come in. In this case, you need more no. You need better boundaries. More like shut doors, right? Then there’s also the other side of it, where it’s too much ‘no’. That’s when there’s thorns out and you won’t let anyone in. This can create a restriction to connection. There’s an isolation.
Sometimes in our life we really have to go in and close the world out. There’s gonna be times like that. But at what point do you integrate and step back into the world? Or vice versa? There’s a time to be like, arms up. You’re the full moon. You’re out there. Big and bright. Everyone’s welcome. But at what time do you recognize that you’re too much out or asking everyone else’s opinion and not really reflecting on your own?
So there’s a balance there, of taking in the external to reflect and have some input. Then there’s times where you want to receive that intuitive hit. It’s about knowing which side of the spectrum you’re on with your boundary. So healthy boundaries keep me centered and balanced.
We will say the mantra three times in a row to invoke its greatest power.
It becomes this positive spell, if you will. It’s a really good topic for our conversation today. It’s like having just enough boundaries to be in those practices of sacred self care, self love, getting to know the language of your intuition, learning how to be fluent in it – and that requires certain boundaries.
If people are used to us never having boundaries, and you start to put some up, it’s gonna be a little shaky and uncomfortable – but it is important to do.
So that’s another way– a step towards having those healthy boundaries. It’s not a perfect practice, but it’s definitely doable. When you set those boundaries you’ll be more dialed into your intuition and your self-care. However there’s also the other side of that, of being of service and integrating that deep inner work so that you do step into the world and not keep it all for yourself. There’s that fine line. That balance.
So whether you’re too much yes or too much no, figure it out for yourself. I’m sure as I’m saying this, many of you are probably having your own subconscious realizations. Trust what’s coming up as you hear these words. Trust that knowledge and that wisdom, and these deeper insights that come forward and even write about it right now. Understand why this card is showing up for you and your life, whenever you happen to be.
Ashley: Wow. Super powerful. Boundaries are so important I think just for our own sense of peace and calm and inner balance. I really appreciate you pulling through that message for us. Very exciting.
You guys have a lot of really cool things coming up. I’m sure people want to stay in touch. They will want to hear about all the exciting upcoming projects you have going on.
Where can people find you online and how can they get on your email list or stay in touch with you through socials?
Aarona: We send out a newsletter every new moon and full moon. It’s a really beautiful download on that particular moons’ energy, along with a corresponding ritual. So definitely sign up for our newsletter that’s at www.themoondeck.com. It’s super easy. We also have all our products on there. The deck is definitely like our queen, but we have some new products coming out slowly.
There’s a crystal set there now and some notebooks which are basically like a blown up image of some of our favorite cards. We also have some exciting stuff coming up soon in the next few months. So soon we’ll have an intention candle set and some other things that I can’t voice yet, but I’m super excited. It’ll all be on themoondeck.com.
If you want to get in touch with me for a reading or you just want to learn more about what I do, that’s aaronalea.com.
I’m also super active on Instagram, so definitely follow us there. It’s @the_moondeck or @aarona.lea. DM me. I basically run both of those accounts, but if you have something personal, DM me in my personal one. Then there’s Facebook, follow The Moon Deck. We’re most active on that page. Every Monday we do Moon Day at 12pm Pacific Coast time. I literally have my laptop and my phone going at once. So you can join us on Instagram or Facebook and I pick a card like I did today. I go a little deeper into it. And I assign you a ritual for the week based on that card so that next moon day, we can check in on it.
I basically just show up and discuss in a vulnerable, honest way whatever’s going on, what’s on the top of my mind with what I feel the community is feeling. Then I pick a card and without fail, it’s always super aligned and perfect. And there’s people from all over the world tuning in. So it’s a great community to tap into.
Ashley: Super exciting.
I just want to thank you again, Aarona, for being here. For doing this with us. Holding space. Sharing a bit about your personal journey. This was just fantastic, so thank you again.
Aarona: Thank you. So great to meet you and your community. I appreciate it.