september, september

reaching for my cards has been difficult lately. the cards are wise, comforting, and challenging, but they take a lot of energy to interpret correctly – i have to be in an place where i can hear anything, where i’m willing to see the messages and lessons that are intended, rather than looking for what i want or what i fear. i haven’t felt strong enough, but i’m trying to push myself today.

i mentioned in my last entry that i’m beginning a september tarot challenge on instagram, and i’m already a few days behind. it felt like fear (and it partially was), but i also liked the idea of tackling the first three days together – my theme for the month, my strength this month, and my weakness this month. i’m not sure how much the challenge will spill over onto this blog, and am honestly not sure how many days i will get through, but starting with these three cards felt right to me.

IMG_1917.jpg

armed with rose quartz for healing, compassion, and love, i laid out cards from both of my decks. deep breaths, quiet prayers, trying to enjoy the stillness rather than feeling trapped by it. it’s been a long, difficult few weeks. please, cards, be kind.

1. my theme of the month card

the fountain, a major arcana card unique to the fountain tarot, representing oneness, clarity, ultimate connection, enlightenment, surrender, understanding and acceptance. it was designed to be separate from the cycles of birth, death, time, and form, IMG_1926and while it appears after the world in the major suit, also exists outside of it – similar to the fool, with its 0. this card is infinite, whole, separate. this card is complete on its own.

it’s a stunning card, with sparse, abstract patterns of light and shadow. a brilliant white beam cuts through the center, allowing the edges and swirls to play on either side in their own natural, beautiful way. the card is not perfect, not symmetrical, not flawless, but it is whole, complete, and gorgeous. there’s a peace, a tranquility about this card – it feels confident, calm, aware in its stillness. the text for this card includes the phrase surrender to that which you are, which really resonates – i spend so much time struggling against my own self, my desires, my wishes, my preferences, my needs, my demons. i judge myself daily, especially when my depression is wrapped around me, cutting me off from the world, making it hard to breathe. this idea of unity, of being utterly connected with the universe simply by tapping into everything that makes me me, feels huge, powerful, uncomfortable. but surrender, embracing who and what i am, understanding that even my flaws are essential to my self? what a lovely, complicated idea, and a beautiful challenge and theme for my month.

2. my strength this month


a card of self-preservation, conscious action, and full awareness, the seven of swords represents the strengths that i can draw on this month. this has always been a challenging card for me, feeling like it could have a number of interpretations based on the situation at hand, but i don’t normally see deception or deceit here – at least, not as secrets with wicked or damaging intentions. rather, this feels like a card of protection, staying alert, keeping one eye open and aware of possible danger, trouble, obstacles. our seven-of-swordsfox is a clever trickster, yes, but he’s using his mental energy and clarity to stay sharp, to make a plan, to keep himself protected and safe, even if that means withholding information from others.

i prefer to keep things close, private, personal. it’s hard for me to share thoughts and feelings and dreams, even when they’re positive – i’m an introvert, but i’m also pretty secretive. i don’t let just anybody in. and in these shadowy days, this fox feels exactly like me – i’ve driven everyone away with my depression and my irritability and my darkness, and am utterly alone, clutching my sword, sad and afraid. everything hangs overhead, and it’s up to me to keep my secrets, stay aware, protect myself. i don’t know if my solitude is helping or making things worse – i hate feeling that i don’t matter to anyone, but i also truly believe it, way down deep. it’s all up to me, because who else is there?

can this be a strength, this tendency to hoard personal details, this unwillingness to share, this desperation to stand on my own even when i’ve already fallen flat on my face? perhaps it can. i’ve seen others write about this card in terms of tact, diplomacy, keeping secrets to protect ourselves and others from unnecessary harm – and that i can do. and as i approach my theme of the month, learning to surrender to my true self, perhaps a bit of caution, protection, full awareness, wouldn’t go astray. these are big, scary themes – knowing how to keep myself quiet and safe could come in very handy this month.

3. my weakness this month

my weakness this month is the ten of wands, a card of burnout, exhaustion, too many projects, scattered passions, stagnant energy. these wands, which once pulsed with fire and flame, are now piled high, their light extinguished. too much of a good thing, IMG_0312overwhelmed, a burden of enthusiasm. we can’t say yes to every single thing – we have to pick and choose where to invest our time, our energy, our passion, or we run out of steam, and things fall apart.

the creator of the wild unknown deck talks about mental and physical burdens, missing the wood for the trees, a weight on ones’ spirit that leads to hopelessness and depression. and that all rings so true right now – i feel heavy, yet empty. hope feels out of reach. my body hurts, my soul aches, i can’t see things that are right in front of me. my depression is a weakness, to be sure, but it’s also a challenge. every single thing i do takes too much energy, and i have to push to complete the smallest tasks. my everyday household chores, caring for my beloved dog, setting up work for the future, trying not to drive my husband completely insane – it’s so much harder than usual.

i hope september isn’t only defined by my depression. i hope i’m not stuck here for too long, trapped in this heavy haze of sadness and loneliness and frustration. i hope i come out the other side stronger, that i haven’t permanently damaged my relationships, that i haven’t alienated too many people, that i haven’t lost work or contacts or momentum. but even if i come out of the storm soon, this card reminds me to not jump back in too quickly, to stay focused and passionate, to channel my energy into the places and projects that truly matter to me. taking the time to reconnect with the world, and working to maintain balance, will be essential for me this month.

IMG_1922.jpg

there are challenges here, to be sure. life is difficult right now. but that pulsing light in the center, the wholeness and quiet power of the fountain, is a lovely guiding light for my september. even with swords overhead, with depression and fear and sadness weighing me down, if i can keep moving towards that beautiful surrender, perhaps my september will bring me some peace and healing.

Advertisements

wisdom of the eclipse

new moon energy is an intensely charged time – full of potential, a chance to start fresh, an opportunity to set new goals and intentions. and combined with the incredible energy from today’s solar eclipse, there couldn’t be a better time for a tarot spread centered around reflection, awareness, and finding direction.

1. where you stand

IMG_0299the son of swords grips the blade of his sword as he hones in on his target. everything in him is focused, utterly fixated on his destination. wings flapping, eyes forward, sword at the ready – he is completely determined, and will let nothing get in his way. as with all of the sons, their understanding of the suit is growing, and can go many ways. is his single-minded pursuit of his goal, his focus on the truth, something that makes him strong? or is he too obsessive, unwilling to see any other perspective?

i don’t feel this strong or sure about anything at the moment, except perhaps that i’m longing to channel my energy into something. i’ve been toying with new creative pursuits, itching to start a new project, eager to find something i can pour my fire into. and while this son is several steps past where i feel i am, there’s something to his passionate intensity, his fearless drive, his complete willingness to throw his entire self into this purpose, that resonates. i may not be sure where i want to go, but i do know that i want to put my whole self into something that matters to me.

2. something to leave behindIMG_0334

the card that i cannot seem to shake, the three of cups represents companionship, love, friendship, and honesty. this card has been stalking me relentlessly for the past few months, and has come to mean something very different – feelings of isolation and being misunderstood, being alone or left out, wanting something that no longer exists. but in this context, i feel that this card is asking me to leave behind not only these feelings, but also this inherent craving for approval, for support, for praise and love and inclusiveness. it’s important to have people around us that give us that unconditional love and support, that encourage us to be better, that strengthen us and help us heal. but with that comes temptation, even a desire to lean too heavily on those that we love, rather than growing and learning on our own. having a strong community is a beautiful thing, but if we come to rely on it too heavily, we can do ourselves a disservice. sometimes we have to leave the pack, strike out alone, set our own course. i have to rely on my own independence, my own strength, and listen to what my heart is craving.

3. something to receive

IMG_0293a card of hope, healing, and moving forward, the six of swords feels like a gift. i’ve been so discouraged, felt so alone, wondered what my purpose is and how to escape this feeling of restless sadness. this card doesn’t speak to all problems magically disappearing, or leaving everything behind, but instead seems to offer shelter from the storm, a chance to dry off, warm up, and set a new course.

hope and optimism aren’t traits i’m particularly known for, and they aren’t something i tend to seek – i take a rather bleak view of life, generally content to stay in the darkness. and while my gaze naturally drifts towards the pile of dark swords in the rain and the shadows, this card is really about that narrow, colorful rainbow overhead. i may not know where i’m going just yet, but that lovely ribbon of light is a potent reminder that no storm lasts forever, and that i have the power to leave this troubling sadness behind.

4. something to learnIMG_0369

the only major arcana card present, the star is a beautiful card of generosity, authenticity, peace, inspiration, and healing energy. it feels particularly poignant to see this hopeful image as the eclipse occurs overhead, a reminder of the powerful forces at work at the moment.

this card offers so much, and provides endless lessons, but one thing i’m grateful for is this card’s association with creativity, passion, and feeding that inner fire. the star reminds us to connect with what truly drives us, encourages us to look deep within and see that which keeps us strong and centered, helps us find our way. beth calls this card the north star, and i love that strong image of a guiding light, an inner compass, a distant fire that helps us follow our own path. i may not always be good at pausing to look for this gentle beacon, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been there waiting for me, ready to help me find my way.

5. something to give

IMG_0333the two of cups, a card associated with love, balance, reciprocity, and strong connections. while it seems that many see this card as a symbol for romance and romantic love, it can also speak to connections with anything that is important to us: friendships, families, pets, art, music, nature, movement, or anything else that speaks to our soul, makes us feel alive and empowered and complete.

sometimes we’re too depleted to give anything to anyone, but i find that when i’m running low on energy, on love, on encouragement, that i can often muster up some positivity for friends – even if i can’t find it for myself. it’s always astounding to me how reaching out to others, finding small ways to be kind, offering words of encouragement or support, tends to magnify and expand those feelings. those gestures feel small and sometimes seem like they can’t possibly make a difference, but they often mean so much more than expected. and though right now it feels that i can’t offer anything special, that doesn’t mean i shouldn’t try anyway.

6. your hopes and dreamsIMG_0324

an intriguing card for this position, the seven of pentacles also made an appearance in my last reading. it represents an important step in any journey – a pause, an evaluation, an opportunity to assess progress and make any necessary adjustments. this card is a reminder to look at how far you’ve come, and make sure that the path you’re following will lead you to your ultimate goal.

this card often pops up in snarky, clever ways for me – it tends to appear when i’m unsure of my direction, seeking guidance, or looking to connect with someone or something that’s challenging me. as i’ve written before, i don’t have major lifelong goals, impressive dreams, ambitious plans for my future, so this card feels like a tease. but perhaps that’s an indication that i have more ambitions than i think, that just because i haven’t set big goals for myself in the past doesn’t mean i don’t have them, buried down deep. this card may be pushing me to step back, evaluate what i really want, and consider if there is something i want, something i should be pointing myself towards.

7. your secret special skill

ten-of-swordsthe ultimate victim, the the ten of swords is a card of despair, melodrama, hitting rock bottom, and giving up. there’s no possible way to escape all of those swords – indeed, ten seems a bit excessive. this card always makes me laugh, for don’t we all feel this way sometimes? like the whole weight of the world is bearing down, everyone and everything is against us, there’s no escape from the insurmountable problems stacking up before us. it’s a card of utter defeat, getting so in our heads that we’re sure there is no solution, no escape, no recovery.

quite a secret special skill to round out my spread. and yet, these dark cards come up for me frequently when i do readings that include personal powers, strengths, and important characteristics. my scorpio nature and depression play strongly into everything, from the way i read cards to the way i approach decisions to the way i relate to others. it’s difficult to see the ten of swords as a skill, since melodrama and painting myself as a victim is rarely helpful. but this card does make me snicker, and reminds me to stay aware of those dark tendencies in both myself and others, which can certainly be a skill. it’s a lot harder to be aware of bad patterns when it’s you that’s falling into them, but i try to pay attention to how my mind operates and stay focused when i can feel myself slipping into dark, twisty places. i also have plenty of darkness in my mind and my past, and while nothing truly horrific has happened to me, i do think that those experiences have helped shape me, taught me how to survive and remove the swords that are impaling me.

IMG_1757

 

this spread was certainly a challenging one, encompassing everything from honest love and community to self-imposed isolation and leaving the past behind. there are images of hope here, encouragement, friendship, inspiration. but there are also warnings of obsession, loss, despair, getting lost in the darkness of our own minds. but there’s so much wisdom here, particularly as i seek ways to let my own creativity shine, as i reflect on hidden dreams or secret aspirations, as i crave a passion project that lets me channel my energy and knowledge and inner fire.

i’ve been doing a lot of larger spreads lately, and am eager to get back to my single-card daily drawings for a bit so that i can unpack all of the wisdom here. but if you did any special spreads or readings for the eclipse, please share in the comments!

so this is the new year

…and what a year it’s been. today is my one-year anniversary of tarot, exactly 365 days since i purchased my first deck and began learning a new language. what drew me to tarot was a desire to feel more connected with the world, to find a method of relating to things bigger than me, to overcome my difficult relationship with the church and find a new way to connect spiritually with the world. tarot has helped me reclaim that part of myself, learn to see beyond what’s in front of me, and forced me to grow and challenge myself in ways i never expected.

i’ve been searching for a new spread, something to help me celebrate and reflect, but in the end i decided to use an old one – the reader’s reading, a spread i did when i first purchased my deck, and again six months ago, when i started this blog. i love the continuity of it, having a spread i do each year to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. one of my favorite things about tarot is that while we can continue to gain knowledge and experience, even those that have been reading cards for decades still find new lessons, new interpretations, new ways to learn and grow. it’s a beautiful language, an incredibly powerful tool, and one i’m constantly challenged and amazed by.

1. About you in general: what is your most important characteristic?

seven-of-pentacles

the seven of pentacles is a curious card to get in this position, but it feels like a little wink, an acknowledgement that i’ve done this spread several times before. this is the report card of the deck, a chance to stop, evaluate, and consider if a change of direction is needed. it’s so easy to set a course and then just find a groove, settling into that path and following it. but sometimes it’s essential to pause in the middle, to recheck that compass, and make sure that we’re still heading the right way.

of course, this is exactly what i’m doing right now – stopping to consider, remembering where i started and looking forward to where i’m going. i’m not a person that sets strong goals for my life, or has huge ambitions, but i do enjoy the process of introspection and assessment. the journey is what matters to me, and in tarot, that could certainly be a strong and important characteristic in my readings.

2. What strengths do you already have as a reader?

IMG_0296

it’s hard to imagine any other position or spread where the dreaded nine of swords would make me smile, but in this case, i couldn’t help it. nightmares, the mind attacking itself, dark visions, anguish, despair – this is not a card anyone wants to see. and yet, in some ways, this card absolutely represents my strength: it doesn’t frighten me.

as someone that battles severe depression, idiopathic insomnia, a lifetime of feeling isolated, and more run-of-the-mill (but no less crippling) self-doubt and self-loathing, this card really hits home. it speaks to my inner demons, my worst fears, my darkest moments. but in this position, the card also represents what i already know to be true: that the mind is a difficult, twisted place, and that it is capable of true darkness. even when i do readings to find courage or strength, i often get “scary” cards in places of personal power. i know what the darkness is, but i don’t shy away from it. traditionally scary or fear-inspiring cards like the tower, the devil, death, or the ten of swords don’t frighten me, because i can see that they have purpose and meaning and value. loss can lead to greater findings. change may be hard, but it’s not inherently bad. and transformation can lead to greater beauty, even if the process is painful.

i truly believe that as a tarot reader, it’s my job to unflinchingly see the messages that the cards hold. those might not always be pretty or shiny or happy – sometimes they are difficult, brutally honest, or unwelcome. but i have to be able to honestly interpret their lessons, even when i don’t receive the answers i’m hoping for. and being able to see the darkness for what it is, and remember that there can be light at the end? that’s a strength, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

3. What limits do you feel as a reader?

IMG_0359

the chariot is a card of strength, willpower, confidence, control, and overcoming adversity. it’s a beautiful, inspirational card, but in this position it indicates limits that i feel as a reader, which makes it a bit more difficult to read. this card speaks to control, determination, someone that’s a force of nature. as a limit, it’s easy to see how this could go awry – someone is so focused on their goal they push past other potential options, become too forceful or stubborn, need to be in complete power and control over everything and everyone in their path.

i’m probably on the other side of this card – i rarely feel in control of anything, and don’t usually seek it unless i’m scared or uncomfortable. sometimes i want to steer the ship, chart the course, but most of the time i stay focused on little challenges, taking things day by day, and seeing how things go. this can certainly be a limit or weakness for me, as i’m resistant to looking too far ahead, or setting long-term goals. and for tarot, only pulling cards for a single day or the short-term or for small questions could be limiting my abilities to grow as a reader. perhaps it’s time to start pushing myself, asking bigger questions, to stop being afraid of what i might see farther ahead.

4. What key lesson can you learn on your developmental journey?

son-of-cups

the first card in my spread to show any real color, the son of cups is quiet, peaceful, introspective, and intuitive. he represents the extremes of the suit, shifting between poetic and insightful and dark, brooding, moody. this card really speaks to me as a lesson, since as a child of the water, i’m very susceptible to difficult, changing emotions. some days i don’t feel like i can handle what the cards may say, and other times it’s hard for me to cut past my own feelings and be honest with myself about the messages in the deck.

sensitivity is key when reading tarot, but it’s important to not let it get the best of me. i have to be able to separate myself from the deck when i’m reading for others, and it’s essential to be able to look past my swirling emotions and complicated feelings and see the heart of the matter, the reality that the cards are bringing to my attention.

but i think this card is also a reminder that emotions are not a weakness, and that they are not something to fear or avoid. the cards challenge me in so many ways, but one of the biggest lessons i’ve learned this year is that powerful emotions can make us strong, can push us forward, can reveal what we truly care about. they can take us to dark places, but they can also remind us what matters.

5. How can you be open to learning and developing on this journey?

seven-of-swords

a card of secrecy and self-protection is an interesting one in a position of openness and development, but the seven of swords is a card that i’ve learned to love this year. i think it’s often seen as a card of deception, lies, trickery, of fooling those around you for your own gain. but for me, this card tends to pop up when there’s danger around, when i need to be on my guard, when protecting myself is key. sometimes you’ve gotta hide, and other times you have to grab a blade and be ready.

similar to the first card in the spread, i think this could be a little wink to me – a reminder that cards can be open to interpretation, that leaning heavily on books and blogs and resources to understand every single nuance isn’t always the answer, that the cards can mean different things at different times. when i first began reading tarot i was eager to memorize meanings, wanted to be sure i was aware of all the traditional implications and histories of each card. but now, i’m learning to rely more on my own intuition, to trust my inner voice and my first reactions to cards, rather than simply opening books and websites and leaning on the wisdom of others. everyone might not agree with my understanding of the seven of swords, but that’s perfectly fine.

but taking this card at face value, i think it challenges me to be aware of secrets i’m keeping while reading. it’s so much easier to just take what you want from the cards and run, rather than honestly assessing meaning and pushing yourself to understand what the cards are truly saying. i think the seven of swords can serve as a reminder to be open with myself, to not fall into the trap of self-deceit, to keep my eyes open.

6. What is the potential outcome of this journey?

IMG_0305the most vivid and colorful card in my spread, the three of wands is a card of confidence, moving forward, stepping into a bright future. this card shimmers with possibility, and it’s an incredible card to have in the outcome position.

i’ve written a lot about how the first few cards in the suit of wands often bring me anxiety, a weight of expectation that i never feel prepared to bear. but the three is about clarifying that vision, opening our eyes wide, solidifying intentions and following dreams. and while i’m not someone that necessarily has a crystal-clear vision of my future, or even an understanding of what my aspirations truly are, this card is both soothing and empowering for me. there’s such opportunity, such potential, and yet the world is wide and the possibilities are many. tarot has expanded my vision, helped me view my days through a different lens, and by continuing to follow this path, perhaps my future will also find some clarity.

IMG_1728.jpg

this is a very black and white spread, in more ways than one. i see definite progress here, learning and growing, leaning into challenges and understanding my own limits. and while the three of wands isn’t a card i typically like, in this position it gives me hope – i’m on the right path, and the future is colorful.

thank you for a beautiful year. now, onto the next.

looking for a way out

it’s been a difficult few days. after worrying about shifts in a particular relationship for months, i finally spoke up – and didn’t get the response i was hoping for. my fears about losing this relationship feel like they’re mine alone, dismissed and overlooked. and rather than experiencing love and reassurance, i feel abandoned. perhaps this relationship isn’t what i thought it was. is there any solution to this problem? is it time to walk away? can i resolve this without losing myself?

time for the way out spread.

1. the matter at hand

six-of-cupsthe six of cups, a card of memories, stories, roots, and experiences. this card popped up in a spread just a few days ago, where i was thinking about the same situation – but here, it’s a perfect representation of my concerns. the beginning of this relationship was so lovely, felt inclusive and honest and raw in a beautiful, soothing way. i could be myself, share my fears, receive love and support no matter what. this relationship helped me find myself, helped me come out, helped me develop confidence. and while the affection is still there, while there is certainly still love and caring and support, it doesn’t feel the same anymore. intimacies have shifted, other relationships have eclipsed us, and i no longer feel the same unconditional companionship. i miss the past, though i know it’s impossible to rewind. the root of the relationship is still there, but we’re in a new season, and i’m having trouble with the change. i remember how things started, how we grew together, and i’m mourning the loss of it. i want to go back.

 

2. the blockIMG_0326

this card may seem like a strange one in this position, but it makes sense for me. the nine of pentacles is a card of satisfaction, comfort, plenty – a happy, healthy home. there’s safety, togetherness, a sense that all needs have been met. and while this is a card of contentment, for me, that’s the problem – i’m not part of it. it sounds selfish, but the relationship in question formed in part because we each craved something. we needed each other, needed support, love, someone to listen. we gave that to each other, loved each other, provided unconditional comfort and support. but work and living situations have shifted, and what brought us together now separates us. needs are being met on a daily basis, which is wonderful – love is provided, problems are solved, everyone is safe and happy and healthy and satisfied. except that i’m not helping, and i’m not heard. i’m outside the unit, living far away, working nowhere nearby, having to put in so much effort to be involved with anything. that wonderful happy job, the great home life, the parties and inside jokes and mutual friends – i’m not part of it anymore. and it breaks my heart to be so left out, especially when others are so content.

that barricade of feathers, keeping the pentacles safe and warm, clustered together, intimate and safe? i’m outside of it. 

3. the hidden jewel

eight-of-cupswhat’s the underlying truth here, the piece i don’t see? it might be time to walk away, and that’s terrifying. the eight of cups represents moving on, seeing what’s broken and leaving it behind. it’s an incredibly difficult card in this position, because this relationship is one of the most important ones in my life. it’s given me such joy, such comfort, such a beautiful feeling of belonging and love that i’ve rarely experienced in my thirty-one years. and yet… things have changed so dramatically. i’m uncomfortable in ways that are new, unsure of my words and actions, unclear if i still belong. those cups are shattered, irreparable, but i keep trying to put them back together and make them functional. is it time to set them aside, find cups that work the way they should? is it possible to leave the broken bits of the relationship behind, without abandoning it completely? my emotional energy is so drained, i feel despondent and heartbroken, unsure of my place. is it time to find a new path forward? this card seems to say so.

 

4. a shift in awareness

seven-of-swordsthat clever fox, always keeping one eye open – the seven of swords represents a needed change in perspective, adjusting my point of view in order to break through and see the way forward. this card speaks to secrecy, trickery, self-preservation, deceit, hiding from threats. it’s a card that reminds us to act consciously, to be aware of our thoughts and actions, to assess who and what we’re protecting.

i tried to act consciously a few days ago, bringing up my concerns and honestly confessing my fears. but when i didn’t get an immediately supportive response, i retreated, held back, stopped talking. my instincts for self-preservation, my fears of being hurt further, my desperation to hold onto this relationship almost certainly made things worse – without even necessarily revealing everything i needed to say. did i say enough? were my concerns even clear? was i as honest as i could’ve been, or did i hold too much back?

i’m my own worst enemy. i’ve been dreading this shift for months now, worrying and stressing, sure that my intuition was right and that my predictions would come true. and it feels that way right now, absolutely – but is this simply a self-fulfilling prophecy? am i truly trying to protect myself from further harm, or am i making things seem worse than they are?

so many questions. so how do i escape them?

5. the way out

IMG_0290representing heartbreak, betrayal, and sorrow, the three of swords is hardly the card i’d hope for in this position. the only way out is pain? must i abandon this relationship completely, leave it behind, accept the despair and regret as my due? does every way out include suffering?

this card is a still-bleeding wound, a scar that has not yet healed – but it’s also a reminder that pain can shape us, make us stronger, force us to grow. to suffer is to be human, but we can learn from the pain. in this position, it’s hard not to see this card as instructing me to just lean in – embrace the misery, accept it, find a way to get through it. abandon the relationship, try to heal, move on.

but perhaps, this card could simply be telling me to stop obsessing about the change, and instead accept it for what it is. relationships evolve, people grow closer and apart, and most friendships don’t actually last a lifetime. there are seasons for everything, and perhaps the door is closing on this particular connection. it may not be necessary to completely end everything, but i do need to accept the changes that have come, and mourn appropriately.

IMG_1597.jpg

this is a painful, challenging spread. reality is cruel. friendships are not easy. my mind is a dark place, and has made a difficult situation even worse. but the cards are wise, and while they haven’t pulled any punches, i don’t think they’re wrong. what’s done is done, and being sad won’t change anything.

the only way out is to accept where the relationship is, and try to stop obsessing over where it was. perhaps then i can build something new, and look forward.

the four elements spread

with travel, insomnia, and sickness all leaving me exhausted and ill, my second week of course work is spilling into two full weeks. i don’t mind, though – considering the way the suits and elements overlap and combine in tarot has been really fascinating, and has taken a lot more mental energy and consideration than i expected. it may be slow going, but i’m enjoying the process.

each week of exercises includes a spread, so naturally this week’s reading is focused on relating elements to a situation in my life. i’m working through some complicated feelings at the moment, so my spread is all about confusion and uncertainty with a particular relationship.

1. your situation at this moment

IMG_0334

this card, the three of cups, is perfect and heartbreaking in this first position. a card of community, friendship, honest relationships, and the family you choose, the birds and cups sit in harmony, relaxed and open, unafraid to be their true selves. this card is a perfect representation of what i’ve had and what i stand to lose, representing a relationship that has kept me feeling whole and secure but that i’m concerned is slipping through my fingers. i feel disconnected, lost, separate, but this card shows me the ideal of what i’m missing. i’ve had this before, and i don’t want to give it up. the support, love, and honesty radiating from this card is what i crave, and what i hope to return to.

2. the earth of your situation

IMG_0296the dreaded nine of swords, a card of depression, heartbreak, nightmares, and things that go bump in the night. as this card is swords and air, rather than cups or wands, it’s important to remember that this is all about what happens in our minds. this card represents terrors, fears, the worst-case scenario, but isn’t necessarily what’s actually true or real. seeing this card in the context of earth could be a reminder to stay grounded, to not get so tangled in this mental storm that i lose sight of what’s really happening.

the situation i’m struggling with is not a new one, but every time i’ve used tarot to work through my feelings on this matter, i pull swords. air is a tricky element for me, and swords are a suit that i feel the least comfortable with – but i think it’s significant that i tend to pull these difficult cards symbolizing fears and traps and depression when dealing with this relationship. i’m very in my head about this, rather than trusting my heart. and while i find comfort in the earth, its calm and stabilizing presence, there’s nothing soothing about this card – except for its emphasis on mental struggles, rather than earthly ones.

3. the water of your situation

ace-of-swordsthe ace of swords, a card of illumination, truth, and insight. there’s a harsh clarity here, an unerring revelation, that forces us to acknowledge reality (whether we want to see it or not). this is an ace of zero bullshit, a card that offers fresh revelations, a flash of insight. there’s nowhere to hide, not with that brilliant sword and bolts of lightning lighting up the sky. water can be murky and deep, distorting our reality and muddling our senses, but air is crisp and sharp, revealing the truth. in this position, this card encourages precision, honesty, and a frank reality check. my assessment of the situation is almost completely emotional, driven by a lonely heart and a tendency towards darkness and depression. i’m often alone, rarely feel accepted, and am overwhelmingly aware of my isolation and differences. this situation is drowning in water, and it’s time to grasp onto that sword, cut through the swirling emotions, and look critically at what’s really happening, rather than simply my perceptions.

4. the air of your situation

ace-of-cupsthe cards are having fun with me today. it’s too on-the-nose to get the ace of swords in the water position, and the ace of cups in the air position – particularly in an emotional and difficult elemental spread that features only cups and swords.

representing the air of my situation, the ace of cups could be signaling a fresh start, a considering of the full range of emotion present. this relationship is one that’s given me such joy, and still feels new in many ways – but that doesn’t mean it’s always been easy, and has brought out a lot of emotions (both difficult and lovely) during its run. things have shifted and changed, and we’re in a new phase now – in many ways, it’s a fresh chapter, a place to start over. combined with air, this card is also a reminder not to be completely overrun by emotions, to exercise caution and remember truth, to stay aware of reality rather than drowning in feelings.

5. the fire of your situation

six-of-cupsthe six of cups is a card of memories, stories, past experiences, longing, and kindness. it gives us an opportunity to remember our roots, reflecting on who we are and how we became this way. there’s also a yearning in this card, a feeling of needed to let go and forgive, a craving for love and acceptance. this is a lovely card, but it always gives me a vague sense of sadness.

in the fire position, this card leaves me a bit puzzled – fire represents movement and opportunity, ideas, inspiration, passion, motivation. but the six of cups feels like reflection and remembrance, sitting beneath that big, beautiful tree and tracing the pattern of the strong, colorful roots that keep it anchored and strong, that gave it life, that let it exist at all. at first glance, there seems to be little connection between burning fire and these quiet cups.

and yet – fire is often about action, outward movement, intensity. and if i push the ideas of the six of cups outwards, it can remind me to consider the roots of others, their stories and experiences and all the effort and growth that happens below the surface. this relationship was forged in trials, was strengthened by shared experience, has endured because of where our root systems connect and overlap. by remembering kindness, by forgiving that which i cannot see, by acknowledging how we connected in the first place, perhaps i can keep this relationship present, rather than simply in the past.

IMG_1573this was an extremely challenging spread for me, and is one that i’ll need to continue meditating on. i’m not convinced i’ve interpreted things correctly. but somehow, it’s still given me hope that this relationship may not be lost. having only cups and swords in this spread feels incredibly accurate – i know that my head and my heart are at war over this situation, that my tendency towards depression but desire to see the truth are battling with my craving for support and resistance to losing this relationship. i still have a lot to learn about combining elements and seeing their influence in situations and cards, but this spread has definitely given me more insight.

adding spirit

tarot is built on four suits, each representing an element that shapes who we are and is central to the world around us. heart, mind, body, and soul – each suit in the minor arcana explores the highs and lows of our experience as humans on this earth. my course this week is all about exploring these elements within my cards, and connecting them to each other and to me personally.

while beth has a number of exercises for us to follow this week, i want to include this five element spread from the wild unknown, allowing me to add in the major arcana and connect more deeply to the various elements in the deck.

1. earth

six-of-pentacles

this card represents my foundation, my home, and my sense of stability: the six of pentacles. though there is darkness around, this branch is flourishing, finding a way to grow and blossom even after difficult times. i may not have all resources available to me all the time, but making due with what is present is something that gives me courage, strength, and pride. there’s beauty in both giving and receiving, and it’s important to me that i don’t simply take and take and take without paying things forward. i feel the most grounded when i am able to give back, help friends, be strong for those that need me. and while my career is never going to make me wealthy (and may never fully support me financially, which keeps me incredibly humble when i compare my earnings to those of my husband), doing something that i love and believe in helps me to flourish personally in ways beyond riches.

 

 

2. water

IMG_0334

the three of cups represents my emotional self, my relationships, and my creative and spiritual flow. as someone that’s fairly private and doesn’t always trust others immediately, this is a lovely card to see and an important reminder – i may not have a wide circle of friends, but those i do have know me truly, allow me to be myself completely, and will stand by me through thick and thin. my relationships keep me centered and healthy, and when i remember to rely on my friends and family, when i gather my strength and trust them with my pain and my darkness and my secrets, i’m always better off. it’s not a weakness to ask for help or admit when i’m overwhelmed. and while it’s not easy to ask for support, i need to be better about doing it.

 

3. fire

IMG_0309

this card represents my sense of self, my soul, that inner spark that keeps me moving and motivated. the seven of wands is a card of independence and strength, a light in the darkness, a bold flame that knows what it’s burning for. i’ve always been different, rarely fit in or feel normal, but this card stands fiercely and proudly. it reminds me that knowing who i am, and not being afraid of what makes me different, is an important part of growing up and being strong. this little flame may stand alone and apart, but she’s sure of what she wants, knows she cannot be silenced, believes in her calling. when i stay true to myself, even if i’m alone, i am always stronger. my inner spark is often restless, feeling that i should be burning brighter or harder or larger – i have trouble being present, acknowledging where i am with calm and purpose. but this card feels so still, though the flame is crackling and lighting up the darkness.

 

 

4. air

daughter-of-swords

the daughter of swords is straightforward, intelligent, and embraces simplicity: an inspiring card for my air element, representing my relationship to change and inspiration. i love to travel, love to explore, love challenging myself to grow and learn in new ways. but i don’t like a lot of fuss – i always prefer to keep things drama-free. and while my scorpio nature means that i keep a lot of secrets, enjoy mysteries, and am often hard to read, when it comes to travel and adventurous i like to know what’s going on. i’m currently on vacation with my husband and his family, and the lack of planning and communication, the utter disorganization, the clear differences in the purpose of the trip, are driving me a little bit crazy. i want to know where i’m going, want to experience as much as possible, and don’t want to waste any time trying to organize those that refuse to be organized. i really identify with this child of the air: let’s not make this any more complicated than it needs to be.

5. spirit

the-empress

i’m a bit surprised to see the empress in this final position, representing my relationship to spirituality and the infinite. my birth card is the high priestess, a card i love and admire deeply for her intuition and spirituality, but the empress is far more grounded. she’s deeply connected to nature and the earth, embraces her senses and her body, understands the world around her on a visceral level. she is nurturing and wise, strong and kind, always extending open arms and caring words to those in need. and while i’m not sure that this is who i truly am, in this very moment i’m feeling extremely connected to the world around me. i’m in a beautiful place, craving time in nature, wanting to enjoy food and the landscape and everything around me with all of my senses. i just want to be, which is not always easy for me. california always feels like home to me, and i want to soak it in for as long as possible, enjoy this feeling of freedom and peace.

 

IMG_1474

this is a spread i want to revisit again and again, as it seems to give a really lovely insight into where i am right now, and how the elements can speak to my current state. these cards all feel calming and affirming, reflecting my current feelings of independence and solitude in the face of community, a desire for action and directness during this long and emotionally draining trip, and a craving for nature and exploration in the last days of our vacation.

i’m a bit behind on my week two exercises, but plan to do another spread tomorrow. if you’re following beth’s course too, please let me know how it’s going!

 

always learning

IMG_1381after such a difficult and emotional june, i’m feeling energized and a bit restless. we havea lot of travel scheduled for july, and as i look forward at all of the exploring and adventures ahead, i’m also craving personal growth. tarot has become so important tome over these last ten months of reading, and i find myself wanting to dive deeper into hidden meanings, personal intuition, and feeling truly connected to my cards.

with that in mind, i’ve decided to begin beth’s alternative tarot course, an eight-week program designed to help readers develop their own style of reading and interpretation.

the course includes daily single-card readings, much like i do anyway, along with exercises and a larger weekly spread. i plan to use this space to explore the writing prompts, along with all of the readings she outlines, but i will still do my regular single-card daily readings here too. it’s my hope that sharing this journey publicly will connect me further within the tarot community, and help me continue to grow and learn.

with that in mind, i’m going to begin with this week’s weekly spread: the reader’s reading. this first week is all about thoughtfully considering what tarot means to me personally, what i believe about it, how it impacts me, and what i hope to achieve by learning this practice. i did this exact reading when i first started this blog in february, so revisiting it seems like a lovely way to begin this new portion of my tarot journey.

1. About you in general: what is your most important characteristic?

father-of-pentacles

the father of pentacles, king of the earth. grounded, practical, strong, observant, confident, quiet, steady, and gentle, this father is a lovely, calm soul. he stays cool under pressure, remains deeply connected with the world and people around him, and prizes his family, home, and career. he is reliable and mature, down-to-earth, known for his dependability and rationality.

i don’t always see myself in the pentacles, and don’t often draw them. but there’s something so soothing and profound about this card’s energy. i do think of myself as a hard worker, a problem solver, someone that will always jump in to help. i’m great under pressure, someone that can quickly assess a situation and come up with solutions. i like to think of myself as someone with a quick mind and a cool head. i’m the consummate emergency contact, the one who will drop everything to help out, the person who fixes things. i may not always have the answers, but i will always try to find them.

2. What strengths do you already have as a tarot reader; what are you bringing to this course?

ten-of-cups

the ten of cups, a card of harmony, balance, love, and support. there’s so much energy and positivity here, but i’m most struck by the openness, the evenness, of that colorful rainbow of light. every card gives and receives, sharing what they have and discovering something new. there’s no holding back, no stinginess or secrecy – the cups let everything pour out into the community.

as a strength, what i see here is my willingness to share and learn from others. i’m rarely 100% confident in my knowledge or abilities, even on topics where i have a lot of experience – and tarot is no different. i have so much to learn, and i think that this spirit of openness, this willingness to admit what i don’t know, and this desire to read and study and gain from the experience of others has already helped me in my study of tarot. i love my blogs and books, love finding new forums and old texts that will help expand my knowledge and push me to always find new meanings in the cards. if i can maintain that attitude of humility and sincerity, i think it will really help me grow.

3. What limits do you feel as you start this course?

four-of-cups

the four of cups: a card of discontent, apathy, an emotional slump. this card has come up for me in spreads before, and never fails to confuse me. is the rat simply hoarding the cups for himself? is he ignoring the light above, as in the five of cups? what is making him discontent, restless, selfish?

i struggle with the meaning of this card, which makes me think that the four of cups in this position is less to do with the literal meaning of this card and more what it represents to me in drawings and spreads – i don’t have a perfect, encyclopedic knowledge of every card’s meaning. i want to do this course, and i believe that it’s time, but i’m concerned that my lack of memorization is somehow going to hold me back. i want to know the more traditional interpretations, want to stay connected to the history and wisdom of the deck, but i also want to have a personal link to my own cards. the four of cups is probably the card i struggle with the most, not because i don’t like the meaning but because i always feel confused by what its message is.

4. What key lesson can you learn on your developmental journey with tarot?

mother-of-cups

oh, my beloved mother of cups. this is one of my favorite cards in the deck, one that comes up for me often, and she is always a welcome sight in a spread. her insight is legendary, her creativity is inspirational, and her psychic abilities bring tranquility and healing to everyone she touches. she’s often compared to the high priestess, which is my birth card, and i find her deeply inspirational and aspirational.

as a lesson, the mother of cups speaks to me of openness, a willingness to listen, and a deep need to trust my intuition. being receptive to the lessons of the tarot, even when they’re difficult, is critical to understanding the wisdom and beauty of the cards. there is power in quiet, strength in stillness, and so much more to these cards than what is on the surface.

 

5. How can you be open to learning and developing on this journey?

ace-of-cups

a brilliant and colorful card, the ace of cups is overflowing with energy and connectivity. the wild unknown calls this card love’s beginnings, and this card does usually symbolize the start of something lovely – a new crush, a new relationship, a new opportunity.

emotions have power, and while not all feelings are pleasant, they all have significance and weight. cups are not just for love and happiness, but the full spectrum of human response. in this position, i see a reminder to engage with all the aspects of emotional wisdom. just like feelings, the cards can quickly get away from me if i’m not careful – it can be easy to only see what i want, rather than remembering that there is often more than meets the eye. it’s more fun to focus on the happy emotions, the beauty and pleasure and love that swirls around us sometimes, and ignore the danger signs or the more difficult interpretations. i don’t always need to search for the most beautiful, positive meaning in each card – some cards are just difficult or ugly, because that is part of life too. i need to remember to acknowledge everything about the cards, to embrace my role as a student, and to find a way to enjoy every lesson, every emotion, every message – even when it’s hard.

6. What is the potential outcome of your tarot journey?­­­

ace-of-wands

it’s fascinating to pull the ace of wands, a card that is typically associated with a new idea or opportunity, as my outcome card. this card brims with energy and fire, and while it’s a positive and exciting card to see, often overwhelms me.

however, a card of such powerful inspiration and potential is really motivating to me. if the outcome of my tarot journey is to put me at a fresh start, an exciting new beginning brimming with energy and possibilities and strength, then that’s a wonderful place to be. i don’t see this journey as one with a clear destination – i plan to read for as long as i can. there’s no end game. but if the benefit of this course is that it can put me in a new position, one that inspires me to start something else or bring tarot into a more important place in my life, how can i not be energized? this is such a fun and powerful card to see here.

 

IMG_1379.jpg

overall: four cups, one wand, and one pentacle – no swords in sight. the proportion makes sense to me – i’m a scorpio, a water sign, and identify strongly with the suit of cups. but i’m very drawn to the suits of wands and pentacles, seeing quiet and strength in the earth and often craving that crackle of fire. swords are less appealing to me, as my mental energy is usually dark and negative. and for me, tarot is all about intuition, connection, and insight, and less about structured meanings and precise interpretations.

i’m both soothed and energized by this spread, seeing so much potential in this course and what i can learn from it. i’m really looking forward to continuing my journey and growing as a reader. and please, if you find this post and feel inspired (or have worked with this course, either now or in the past), let me know! i’d love to connect to other readers.