protect yourself

i’ve been seeing a lot of swords and cups in my reading today, and i think it’s a perfect (if very on-the-nose) representation of my current mental state – my emotions and fears at war with what my mind is telling me i must do. today’s card is the seven of swords.

seven-of-swords

like the four of swords, this clever creature is completely aware of the swords over her head – but unlike the lamb, channeling her power and setting boundaries for herself, this fox keeps an extra sword hidden, waiting for something big to happen. perhaps she’s aware of a threat in her midst, and doesn’t trust those around her – or maybe she’s the one with the secret, and is wary of being discovered. either way, she is on edge, keeping an eye on everything.

this card often reminds me of the seven of cups, another card that can speak of secrets, illusion, and deception – both speak to internal issues, whether they’re mental or emotional. and having seen both suits so many times in recent readings, it seems fitting to mediate on them both.

IMG_0338last week i wrote a post about coming out, and struggled with whether or not to share it on social media. this blog is not private, and i rarely write secret posts, but it also doesn’t get a lot of traffic – i write mainly for me, and while i occasionally send posts to friends, rarely share it beyond that. as i work through how to come out to some remaining family members, i’ve been wanting additional support from those that already know, along with those that don’t but will be strong allies. but i’ve been putting it off, worried that no one would care, that it wouldn’t mean anything. i’m out to almost everyone in my life – surely posting that on a site like facebook, where my connections are friends and real people i’ve met, shouldn’t be that scary. right? if i can write things that are available to strangers on the internet, surely people that care about me are less intimidating?

but oh, the fear is palpable. just considering posting this publicly (along with writing this post, right now) feels self-indulgent, self-involved, self-serving. sharing a post about my sexuality, as brief and broad as it is, feels like a huge personal step for me. and perhaps it’s the seven of swords speaking – this secret i have is impacting so many relationships, so many decisions, simply because i haven’t shared it yet. but the seven of cups looms too – is my brain pushing my heart to do something it’s not ready for? do i only think this is an important step, when it actually wouldn’t matter to anyone? will i feel better when it’s over, or simply obsess about likes and comments and fear nasty private messages?

i’m honestly not sure. but the phrase i keep seeing in blogs and forums about this card is act consciously. what’s more important – feeling calm and at peace with myself, or getting attention and support from others? do i want to tell people for them, or for me?

IMG_1203

courting cups

my last few daily readings have stirred up a lot of emotion, and with so many cups and swords in play it’s no surprise that i’ve been very internal these days. today’s card seems to honor my sensitive state, while still pushing me to action: the father of cups.

father-of-cupsi’ve seen both the daughter and the mother of this suit recently, and while they’re both powerful figures, in tarot the female energy is connected to internal awareness, psychic abilities, and strength of intuition. the mother of cups is deeply introspective, powerful in her reading of situations, and intensely empathetic. in contrast, the father of cups (and in tarot, masculine energy in general) is action-oriented, pushing us to direct energy outward rather than reflecting inward. he is strong, direct, diplomatic, open-minded, sensitive, supportive, and level-headed. he is the master of his emotions, but remains immersed in them – rather than exerting control and ignoring all those feelings raging inside, he understands the power that they have and uses it to better connect with the world around him. he uses that empathy and sensitivity to navigate his emotions as well as difficult situations, remaining calm and diplomatic. his presence is stabilizing, reassuring, and he isn’t afraid to dream. while the mother of cups thrives in the darkness, using it to focus on what’s important and real, the father is comfortable in the light of day, with nowhere to hide. he is not afraid of being exposed.

cups can be a tricky suit to navigate. and as a water sign with a tendency towards hiding her emotions, i often find myself caught between identifying and sharing my feelings. it’s instinctive for me to keep them hidden, but this king has found a way to harness and use that emotional energy in a positive, balanced way. i certainly have more in common with the female members of the cups court, but seeing the father today is a strong reminder that emotions are powerful, and learning to master them doesn’t mean simply bottling them up or relying solely on intuition.

IMG_1196

one step at a time

after reading through a beautiful, in-depth reading from one of my favorite tarot readers, i’ve had a lot to consider this morning. it can be hard sometimes to take all of the information and insight from a larger spread and find ways to break it down into more manageable steps, to know where to go or how to begin. today’s card is a lovely reminder that we are all students: the daughter of cups.

daughter-of-cups

it’s no secret that i love this card, and all she represents: the eager innocence of the page, the tranquil, quiet spirit of the cups, the depth of emotions present in water, and the ability and desire to see all the beauty and range of her suit. there’s such hope here, an optimism and brightness and appreciation that i don’t always see in tarot. she may not have all the answers but she’s ready to find them, longing to hear the messages that the water holds for her.

after pulling the mother of cups just yesterday, and seeing the high priestess (who’s also my birth card) in a larger personal spread earlier today, this is such a sweet reminder that we all have to start somewhere. i do trust my intuition, and have even before i starting reading tarot, but exploring these cards and trying to understand them has given me an even greater appreciation for natural instincts, empathy, and the power of quiet.

and while i’d love to be the mother of cups or the high priestess, fully aware of my personal power and confident in my abilities as an intuitive presence, i’m still at the beginning of my journey. this daughter may be young, may not have as much experience or knowledge as her older, wiser family members, but she plays an important role in the court: she reminds us to keep searching, to keep being curious, to keep pulling back layers to see what lies at the heart of what matters.

sometimes not being afraid to ask questions, letting go of looking foolish, and simply embracing our role as a student is one of the most powerful actions we can take. there can be fear in the unknown, but there is such powerful freedom there too. the truth will find me eventually, and until then, i need to be kind and gentle to myself, and remember that the answers will come when it’s the right time.

IMG_1172

drowning in empathy

empathy is a tricky, beautiful, difficult thing. someone without enough can come across callous and cold, heartless and unkind. but someone with too much can seem fragile and sensitive, or can take on so much of another’s feelings that they seem to forget whose feelings are whose. i’ve been thinking a lot on the role of empathy lately, and what it means to be an empath, so pulling the mother of cups today feels just right.mother-of-cups

i’ve gotten this card in both daily readings and larger spreads before, and i always love to see this queen in all of her glory. i love her intelligence, her mystery, her sensitivity and strength. to me, she is the master of her own heart and emotions, but is also incredibly attentive to the needs of others. she has the gift of intuition, a deep awareness of her emotional self, and the ability to care for others in a way that seems to go above and beyond what many are capable of. there’s such kindness in this card, a tranquility and inner strength that i admire and hope i can someday find.

i don’t consider myself to be an empath, but i do find myself feeling exhausted or bogged down if important people in my life are having a tough time. my partner has been dealing with intense work stress for most of our marriage but particularly the past six months or so, it’s impossible not to feel the impact it has on my own emotions, and can sometimes even manifest into physical symptoms. similarly, when close friends or family are going through difficult periods, instability with moods, or times of stress, i have to work hard not to drown in it myself. i want to care for them and take some of that weight, but i often don’t know where to put it except onto my own shoulders.

today, the mother of cups feels like both an acknowledgement and an encouragement. compassion is generally good, empathy is generally helpful, being in touch with our emotions is generally powerful. but putting aside our own mental health to aid others isn’t something that should be done lightly, and expressing kindness to ourselves can be just as important as finding kindness for others. the mother of cups is quiet and wise, and knows when and how to use her abilities in the best way possible. it’s a lesson i need to learn, and i believe she can teach me a lot.