breathe deep

i’ve been pulling a lot of positive cards lately – ones that encourage me to look forward to what’s ahead, to seek hope and adventure, to start something new and embrace my own power through it. and it’s been lovely to feel so much strength and energy flowing through these cards – but it’s been a bit overwhelming too. today’s card, the seven of cups, seems to reflect and understand that perfectly. IMG_0338

i’ve written about this card before, and while it’s not always the most welcome sight in a
daily reading, it can also be a bit of a relief to have feelings acknowledged. this card flips everything on its head, and we don’t know which way is up, what time or place or day it is, or even how to move forward. it takes things we thought we were sure of and makes us question them. it can be an indication to stop, look around, take a breath, reassess. things are not what they seem, confusion is afoot, something is amiss.

i’ve been procrastinating, unsure, feeling simultaneously afraid to start and oh-so-tired of being stagnant. depression, especially when it lingers, is like slogging through mud, like wandering through fog, and it makes everything feel slow and heavy and exhausting. and as i attempt to stand up and stumble out of this darkness, to find my way back to who i know i can be, it’s hard to know how to get back into real life again.

the-empressin an effort to seek guidance, i pulled a second card for clarification, and got some serious female power: the empress. she’s beautiful and bold, a colorful beacon in the darkness. this strong tree is constantly evolving with the seasons, and her brilliant shades of pink and purple speak of spring, of the growth and life that come after a long period of cold darkness. she is warm, gentle, compassionate, and strong.

both of these cards are set at night, but reveal very different truths. while the seven reflects the confusion that darkness can bring, the confusing emotions and conflicting directions, the empress is solid and grounded, confident in her light and her strength. the darkness only serves to illuminate her, causing that which is insignificant to fade into the background.

and while it’s okay to be unsure sometimes, to feel hesitant or weak or confused about the next step, the empress reminds me that there can be power in the darkness. finding that inner light is not always easy, but that doesn’t mean that it has faded away.

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finding inner light

another wand. this suit has been with me all week – there are clearly some lessons to glean here: inspiration into action, passionate creativity, the power of important challenges. today’s card is a beautifully empowering one: the seven of wands.

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a bright flame stands alone, illuminating the darkness all around. the other wands are piled in the corners, leaning against walls, seemingly exhausted or cast aside. the others have succumbed to the darkness, but our bold seven stands up straight, on her own power. that brilliant flame is the only color here, and is not merely a spark but a full, beautiful light.

sevens are focused on personal attainment, achieving a goal, and providing some practical advice. and with so many wands in my recent readings, it’s impossible not to feel that my cards are pushing me to find that inner strength, to seek that fiery confidence of the seven of wands. she’s bold, powerful, and solitary – proud of her inner strength, unafraid to be an individual, following her heart and spirit to be as brilliant as she can. there’s so much encouragement in this card, a real “take no shit” attitude that i love. shine on, little wand.

this can be easier said that done. it’s not always easy to be brave, to be proud, to stand tall and alone. embracing our inner weird, not shying away from what makes us individuals, and having the confidence to burn alone can be a terrifying prospect. but whatever it means, for you reading and for me writing, finding that inner light can be essential to keep going. i keep writing about this darkness i’m trapped in, and this beautiful card reminds me to trust my inner fire, to let that little spark guide me through my day.

the power of the wand

i’ve pulled wands in every single reading this week. today was no exception: the two of wands was my daily draw this morning. and in addition to a lot of intense fire energy, i’ve also pulled the ace, two, and three of wands this week. a lot of bright, bold, adventurous energy here.

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these three cards can tell a story about starting something new: the ace is a powerful idea, excitement, energy, readiness. the two is focus, determination, solidifying the idea and thinking through the steps and pieces necessary to make it happen. and the three is action, jumping in, envisioning that beautiful goal and going after it. it’s a powerful trio, and pulling all three cards over the last few days feels significant.

of course, i’m not really in the middle of an exciting new adventure – i’m slogging through the same old depression, wondering if it will ever end. everything is so grey and washed out right now, and all three of these cards are positively bursting with color and vitality. but the two of wands is all about taking a quick pause to determine direction and focus, to evaluate the plan, to become fully aware of everything that’s happening. there’s so much light and energy in this card, but those horizontal lines also show stability and power, ready to be harnessed and focused in whatever way we need.

this is an exciting card, but it’s also a bit overwhelming. i’m not sure what to do with all of this fire, or where to direct it. to make the choice to reach out and grab those wands – am i ready? can i handle it? will it backfire?

i’m not sure i have the answers. but the cards seems to think that it’s time to take some of that colorful power back. i hope they’re right.

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what’s next?

i was thinking a lot about the dual nature of tarot as i prepared to draw this morning’s card, particularly how sons/knights can represent the strengths and weaknesses of each suit. i find them such fascinating, difficult cards, and was intrigued that i hadn’t pulled one in awhile, particularly since i’ve been in such a challenging mental state for so long.

my cards do seem to tease me, because of course i pulled the son of wands as today’s daily draw. clearly i have more reflecting to do.

son-of-wandsoh, this charming, clever, passionate son. bold and confident, adventurous but flighty, he brandishes his fiery wand with pride and stares straight ahead, never looking back. he knows what he wants and it doesn’t even occur to him that his plan might not work out. this son of fire, of energy, of inspiration and creativity, is always on the move. he pushes forward, obsessive and driven, craving the next high and completely sure of his place in the world. i’ve written about him before, but today i think he carries a different message for me.

there’s no fear in this snake, no hesitation, no room for self-doubt. he’s ruled by his passions, by that constant need for adventure – everything in his posture is about the next big thing. wrapped around the wand, bathed in the brilliance of its light, he barely seems aware of what’s around him. he’s focused solely on what’s next.

and while this card clearly carries warnings, and there can be danger in this kind of single-minded pursuit of passion and glory and excitement, there’s something so lovely in his pure, unadulterated eagerness. he could be the captain of a ship, staring into the storm without fear. he could be a warrior, believing in the honor of the upcoming battle. he could be a firefighter, assessing the blaze and knowing it’s time to run into it. that intense focus, that readiness for whatever is around the corner – he’s not afraid of the challenge, he’s actually seeking it, anticipating the next big thing.

to actually welcome what’s coming, even if it’s unknown – there’s beauty there. and after yesterday’s three of wands, with its glimpses of a colorful future, perhaps i can begin to seek hope too.

finding the color

after yesterday’s nightmarish draw, i was quite hesitant to return to the cards this morning. the nine of swords was so present in my day, and night, and i couldn’t seem to find that wand energy that i knew i needed. but today’s card seems to be continuing the energy of my clarifying card: the three of wands.

this is a powerful card, full of both intention and action. the ace and two are about IMG_0305inspiration, finding direction, and moving forward towards a specific goal. the three seems to solidify that movement, encouraging the reader to envision the future, clarify goals, and invest fully in a strong sense of self. threes reflect the power of the suit in action, and wands are all about growth, energy, and fiery passion. the wild unknown guide stresses that it’s time to “rely on yourself for guidance” and explains that “the future is infinite and it is yours.”

and the swirling colors and brilliant light depicted between the intersecting wands are indeed beautiful and infinite. there’s endless possibility here; a vibrant, colorful future that is ready to be shaped. limitless, transcendent, brimming with hope.

except.

all i can see these days is that grotesque vision from the nine of swords. and the inescapable upheaval of the tower. and the necessary abandonment in the eight of cups. and i’m so tired of writing about depression, seeing depression, being depression. i can’t escape it. it’s been dragging on so very long, consuming everything in its path, and i’m ready for fresh air, for light, for color. everything is a tangled mess of ugliness and i’m desperate to get out. how do i change the seemingly permanent hellscape in my mind into this glorious vision of a dynamic, effervescent future?

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frankly, i don’t have a clue. i don’t have fresh new ideas, or opportunities bursting forth from nowhere, or boundless energy to pour into passion projects – just getting out of bed feels like an accomplishment. i have no spoons for anything these days. the pure, blinding optimism of the three of wands feels absolutely impossible.

but maybe this card is simply reminding me that somewhere in the future, hopefully not as far away as i think, is a glimmer of light. maybe this card is a small reminder that there is life outside of depression, that the world isn’t always this dim, that eventually color will start to seep back into my vision.

tarot isn’t meant to be literal. and it doesn’t tell the future, or always answer directly. but i hope this is my deck’s way of looking into my eyes, squeezing my hand, and telling me that it’s going to be okay.

the horror inside

it’s finally come for me: the nine of swords.

as someone that’s battled insomnia and depression for most of my life, i knew when i began tarot that eventually this card would find me. and after almost a year of reading, i’m a little shocked that this is the first time i’ve ever drawn it.

IMG_0296this card is the definition of horror. disgusting, confusing images crowd this card, dark and twisted, and it’s difficult to even tell what is happening. the longer you look at it, the more revolting and upsetting it becomes. symbolizing dark visions, anguish, and the nightmares that keep us up all night, this is a card i’ve been dreading. it seems to represent everything that i hate about myself, everything i fear, all in one hideous image.

there are certain weapons against depression that i can wield during the day. they don’t always work, but when i have tasks to accomplish, a mile-long to do list, or deadlines looming, i can usually force myself to set the darkness aside for a bit and get things done. and daylight offers other comforts – friends, television, delivery food. even at my worst, daytime is always easier.

but the middle of the night, oh. that’s when it’s always harder. everyone is asleep, darkness reigns, and the world is silent and still. it’s just me, alone and anguished, trapped in the endless upside-down. once those bad thoughts start, once i fall down that rabbit hole, it can be absolutely impossible to stop, breathe, and remember who i really am. problems become unsolvable, friends seem like enemies, and everything seems utterly hopeless. i’ve had a few nights like this in the past few weeks, and they never get easier.

is there any hope in this card? carrie notes that while the nightmare itself is a tangled mess, the swords themselves are orderly and evenly spaced, attacking the beast from all sides. swords are all about mental energy, and it’s important to note that this entire hideous thing is in the mind. as beth states, this is mental self-torture. it’s completely self-created, self-inflicted. this whole ugly thing is inside my mind.

i decided to give myself the gift of a clarifying card this morning, and the energy couldn’t be more different: the ace of wands.

bold as hell, crackling with wild, fiery, passionate energy, this energetic card is all about ace-of-wandsexciting adventures, fresh creativity, and flashes of brilliant inspiration. where the swords are dark and tortured, pushing all that negativity inward towards a secret nightmare, this ace pushes inspiration outward. those colorful beams of enthusiasm seem to go on forever.

the message here seems clear – put your energy outward today. find that fire, share your enthusiasm, spread positive energy, and perhaps you can conquer the hideous nightmare waiting at midnight. make the day bright and strong, and the night won’t seem quite so dark. i keep stabbing myself with those sharp edges, letting my mental swords cut me down – but the brilliant fire of those wands can help.

the monsters never seem quite so bad in the light.

and don’t look back

so many of my emotions lately have centered around feeling left behind. i may not consider myself someone that craves control, but i do believe that no one wants to feel helpless, like all of their choices have been taken away or that they have no say in what happens next. raising your head and realizing that everyone has moved on without you, that you’re alone and perhaps don’t even know how long you’ve been that way, is a terrible thing.

but making the choice to stand up, assess your choices, and move on alone can hold such power. there’s tremendous strength in knowing when to leave something behind. and while the eight of cups can often denote sadness, isolation, or even despair, i was glad to see it in today’s daily reading.

the wild unknown depicts a different scene than other decks – dark mountains loom eight-of-cupsunder a grey sky, while a group of cups lies abandoned. this is a card of revolution, of transition, of changing direction or perhaps even changing the journey, and many decks include a figure leaving these cups behind and moving away with purpose. what i love about this card, and what differs from other interpretations, is that these cups are completely shattered, unusable, broken. there’s nothing left to salvage, no way to repair or reuse them. the only thing to do is to leave them, and perhaps to find new cups to fill.

the cards often surprise me, because i feel that someone in my current frame of mind might find this card discouraging. there’s nothing left for me here, everything is broken, i’m beyond repair. but instead i see courage, strength, and resolution. the cups are worthless, the journey has gotten off-track, and it takes purpose and fortitude to know when to stop, adjust, and restart. why would i keep holding on to these damaged cups? they’re useless to me. isn’t it better to set them aside and seek something that i can use?

yesterday’s card was all about action, control, awareness, and knowing your strengths. today i see where i’m to channel all of that readiness – it’s time to leave all of this behind.

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