death & rebirth

i was delighted to pull the empress today, particularly after drawing the emperor for the first time just a few days ago. these cards act as a pair, yin & yang, combining the energies and characteristics of all the mothers and fathers in the deck to create complete, holistic protectors and rulers. the-empress

unlike the emperor’s tall, narrow, straight lines, embodied in the strength and constancy of the evergreen tree, the empress is colorful, expansive, and is represented by a more cyclical deciduous tree – she experiences the seasons, goes through periods of death and life and change. she thrives in the darkness, her colorful leaves and blossoms offering protection and inspiration for those around her. almost every resource i’ve seen refers to her as the earth mother, a nurturer, the creator of life and the sustainer of creative and spiritual fertility. she is mother nature; life-affirming, wise, loving, generous.

the empress’ more internal, “feminine” energy contrasts but compliments the emperor’s outward, “masculine” force, the pair of them combining the strengths of all four suits. mentally strong, emotionally aware, passionate and adventurous, grounded and steadfast. they both rule, protect their lands and their people, but their different strengths work together beautifully. and while i’m less interested in the gendering and the specificity of assigning male/female energies, i love that both are seen as strong and vital – the cards reflect each other perfectly, are completely in sync, reflect each other.

having drawn the emperor days ago, when i needed to stay resilient and structured, it’s very soothing to see the empress’ more nurturing, protective energy today. this card tells me that today can be for growth, for kindness, for caring for myself and the people i love. after days of pushing all of my energy outward, today can be a day of rest, of spiritual exploration, of quiet rebirth.

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…& ten.

three tens in a row is not a coincidence.

ten-of-wands

the ten of wands is a card i get a lot. dreary, disorganized, scattered, confused, lacking direction – these wands are tangled in the darkness, going every which way. it’s hard to even see the individual wands, or to tell which way they’re pointing.

tens being the end of the cycle represented in the minor arcana, and wands embodying passion, fire, purpose, inspiration, creativity – getting this card frequently seems appropriate. my daily work is creative, my brain is creative, my passions are all creative. i’m a water sign, a scorpio. i live in the dark, i trust my intuition, i thrive on passion, i feel deeply. it makes sense that a soul like mine, which tends towards strong emotions and intense cravings, would feel burned out constantly. my job is in the visual arts, so every time i’m working i need to dive into that deep well of creative energy. and my hobbies are all creative too, from the more passive ones (i love to read and lose myself in music) to  more active pursuits (writing, tarot, cooking, pretending to learn guitar). creativity and passion are what keep me whole and functional, and some days it feels like the cycle of the suit of wands and fire is one that i live every week.

while this card is very understandable and relatable for me, it also feels like a bit of an admonition. i don’t get very specific in my queries for daily readings – i almost always ask for guidance for the day, where i should focus, and how i should spend my energy. but today i found myself rambling, listing all the possibilities and inadvertently asking a million tiny questions about how exactly i should spend this quiet, rather unstructured day. the cards are giving me a clear message – you’re scattered, you’ve overwhelmed, you’re exhausted. chill out, prioritize, declutter.

so i asked for a clarification card, and boy did i get one: the lovers. what a beautiful card.

the-lovers

union, joy, love, desire, contentment. it feels like the complete opposite of the ten of wands – like an overflowing cup rather than a tangle of sticks in the darkness. and while i think this card can mean so many things depending on how and where it falls, in this context it feels like advice: to be grateful for my marriage, to be content with what i have, to seek peace in going with the flow, to blend and enjoy all the facets of me. yes, i’m a dark, weird, passionate, intense person – but i’m also married to someone energetic, analytical, adventurous, bright. i need to support him, but can also learn from his enthusiasm and airy, sagittarius energy.

it’s okay to feel this dark, swirling energy constantly, and it’s understandable that i’d feel burned out a lot. but it’s also okay to push that aside, to care for myself, to focus on joy, and to put my energy into being gracious and grateful.