after today’s daily reading on blockages, strength, balance, and hard work, i felt motivated to do a longer spread focusing on my career and professional development. as a fairly new tarot reader, longer spreads are very intimidating – i often struggle to find connections between the cards, and to understand the full picture rather than focusing on individual cards. with that in mind, i’m posting this spread here along with my limited understanding of it – but i’m also sharing it in a forum or two with the hopes of gaining additional insight. i hope to update this as i continue to work through meanings.
in general, i do think this was a helpful spread, with a lot of overlapping themes and advice. while i am still a bit uncertain about how to jumpstart my stalling career, i feel encouraged with the overall picture this spread has given me.
1. a source of strength within your situation
four of swords.
stillness & mental power. rest, quiet, calm, and finding ways to take time for yourself even when there is pressure and stress in the situation. when i was younger i found it very difficult to remove myself from bad situations, or give myself space to work through what was bothering me. but as i’ve gotten older i see more and more that i need a lot of room to think, to recover, and to think through issues and decisions. this card seems to be telling me that this has become a strength for me, and that my ability to deal with difficulties in healthy ways and seek quiet spaces to reflect and recover is something that will continue to serve me well in this situation.
other readers have suggested that this card can indicate a future lifting of pressures, and that those swords dangling overhead aren’t permanent. this card can also represent patience, and not getting hung up on the inconsistent nature of my work. stay calm and persistent, whether i have tons of clients or a slow week.
2. an action you can take to build on this strength
daughter of cups.
this card is near and dear to my heart – not because it’s who i am, but because it’s who i’m working towards becoming. full of creative energy and capable of surrendering completely to her artistic, emotional side, the daughter of cups has an open heart, a kind soul, and a beautifully harmonious spirit. combined with the strength of finding mental space and rest, it seems that i should keep myself open to emotional discovery and experiences, even when i’m finding respite in quiet thoughts and meditation. i can have boundaries and respect my need for stillness, while still enjoying creativity and the beauty in artistic pursuits. for me, this card encourages me to continue finding ways to care for myself, through yoga, meditation, reading, writing, and tarot. as a photographer, my work can also be a way to retreat into art, and it’s important not to lose that.
this card can also be asking me to pay special attention to emotional issues and changes, and potential focus on keeping my work simple and sweet.
3. a source of weakness within your situation
six of swords.
this card indicates processing a difficult situation, recovering from a harsh lesson, moving forward in spite of pain or confusion. it can also represent an unawareness of the future, but a determination to move forward anyway. as a weakness, this is a bit confusing, but since i don’t have really strong, solidified goals for myself in terms of my career, perhaps this is simply acknowledging that not having a strong endgame is a weakness. as mirrored in a later card, i do struggle with wondering if i should give up freelancing, so perhaps this is also highlighting that i don’t feel completely secure in my choice to work for myself.
fellow readers were particularly helpful with this card, suggesting that i consider my true level of commitment, how much time i’ve spent moving in any one direction, and that too much time dwelling in the darkness can cause us to miss the light ahead. i’ve certainly been considering trying new types of photography to gain more work, so this card may be telling me to stick with what i know and focus on improving, rather than expanding.
4. an action you can take to improve this weakness
four of cups.
this card so often speaks of apathy, discontent, and selfishness – and it’s also not the first time this card has show up for me in a position of advice in a larger spread. this card confuses me in this position, since it doesn’t feel like as much of an action as a state of being or an emotion. but i think perhaps this card is encouraging me to be a little bit selfish. if i want to be a freelancer and keep doing what i love, maybe it’s okay to be focused on myself. but i need to identify what’s making me discontent and apathetic, what i really want out of this work, and to go get it. reconnect with what matters and what i love, and go deeper within to find it.
i gained a lot of insight into this card through other readers, who encouraged me to be less hung up on the creator’s words and instead remember that fours are generally inward and reflective. others thought this card could be telling me to strongly consider my skills and what sets me apart, or that i need to stop considering changing work and instead focus on what i truly want.
5. opportunities available to you
seven of pentacles.
contemplation & uncertainty. this card represents stepping back, assessing progress, being aware of where you are and where you’re going. i’ve achieved a lot in my career, and this is the time to reflect on it and learn from my progress.
in practical terms, this seems to indicate reviewing my previous clients, updating my portfolio to reflect my work, and looking at how my eye has developed over the years. i’m self-taught, so every shoot is an opportunity to learn and develop and grow – this card encourages me to reflect on that journey, as well as looking to how i can continue to improve my work and my style.
others agreed – this card is pointing towards my existing clients, and encouraging me to be supportive and respectful, seeing how i can grow and learn with them.
6. how you can approach these opportunities
mother of cups.
insightful, psychic, magical. this queen is deeply in touch with her emotional self as well as the emotional needs and states of others, incredibly intuitive, and both kind and compassionate. while she usually signals a need to reach out to others and care for their emotional well-being, in this position it seems that i should be aware of my own feelings. since this card relates back to the previous card and assessing my professional progress, i feel that the mother of cups is encouraging me to listen to my heart, remain open and aware, and let my intuition guide me forward. while pentacles are earthy, grounded, and practical, cups are all about emotion, which could mean that while freelancing isn’t always the most financially realistic option, it’s certainly what my heart has always encouraged me to do.
as with the previous card, remaining compassionate, sympathetic, and kind with my current clients – as well as seeing if there’s additional work i can create for them that would help in new ways – is something to be working towards.
7. something which threatens your situation
eight of cups.
this card isn’t confusing to me at all – i understand exactly what it’s telling me. throughout my career i’ve always faced a lot of doubts. can i really make a living as a photographer? do i have the skills, the talent, and the ambition to do this? am i capable of doing what it takes to become a success? is there enough work for me in this field and profession? will i ever be good enough?
this card is all about knowing when to walk away from a difficult situation, and as an echo to the six of swords earlier, these broken cups reflect my constant feeling that i should make the more “responsible” choice, give up freelancing, and take a full-time job. even when i have a lot of work and am loving what i do, i worry that it’s a flighty, foolish dream, and that eventually i’ll have to grow up and work a 9-to-5 somewhere.
8. a way to deal with this threat
nine of wands.
the last card of this reading, and one i got just days ago in a daily reading, this card indicates persevering, moving forward, and not giving up. another that doesn’t seem as complicated to interpret, though i want to keep diving into the nuances this card presents.
the passion is there, i’ve come so far, and while the journey hasn’t always been easy or pleasant, i’m getting closer to the end. this card seems to know that i’ve been stuck and stagnant, confused, and considering giving up (again) – but it tells me instead to stay focused, and that the struggle will be worth it.
the overall theme here seems to be that i do love my rest, and that i am weary and confused and scared to continue, but that i need to evaluate how far i’ve come and keep my eyes forward. it’s been a challenging road, but i’m following my heart and doing something that i love. by acknowledging the past, i can learn from my own work and continue to make opportunities for myself. i need to stay open, follow my intuition, and persevere. with the insight other readers have given me, i do feel encouraged that i’m on the right path, and that i simply need to commit and stick with it, rather than constantly feeling guilty or second-guessing my decisions.