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.

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.

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.

seven again

i’ve been taking a bit of a break from tarot, unplanned but perhaps subconsciously. i’ve been so drained, so exhausted, and it felt like drawing cards was just spinning my wheels. sometimes it can be helpful to have feelings and thoughts mirrored in the cards, a kind of validation – but the last week or two i haven’t found it helpful. i’ve missed my daily ritual, but i think it’s been good for me to step back a little and reflect on what i’m really seeking from these daily draws.

we’ve officially signed a lease, and are moving on monday. this very long-awaited change is finally happening, and all of those to-do lists i’ve been writing can finally be put into action – and i’m exhausted. time to gather all the courage and strength i have left. today’s daily pull is the seven of wands.IMG_0309

i love getting new cards that i haven’t worked with before, especially when they seem to say exactly what i need to hear. sevens are all about evaluating where you’re at and making adjustments to meet your goal – they’re cards of choice, a kind of “temporary perfection” as one forum reader put it. we feel that we could be done, that we’ve achieved our goal, but sevens can show us that we actually have farther to go. we need to rally, gather our strength, and carve out a path to the end.

the seven of wands can traditionally be interpreted as preparing for a battle, someone pushing themselves to overcome difficulty or challenges, to gain the upper hand. while i’m hardly preparing for a fight, i am struggling to overcome this depressed haze i’ve been in for the past few weeks. not full out depression, mind you, just a kind of fog that i can’t get out of. this beautiful image of a single wand illuminating the darkness, finding their inner spark, unafraid to shine light boldly, really inspires me. that quick burst of fire is so necessary, pushing forward, finding adrenaline, bursting forth with energy and passion. but it’s so easy to burn out, to expend energy too quickly, and this card can also caution me to watch my energy and make sure i have enough to complete my goals.

green lights

there’s so much energy humming right now, it’s actually palpable. sometimes when i’m shuffling and preparing to pull my daily reading, it feels like certain cards are almost inevitable, that you know what’s coming before it comes. with so much uncertainty, anxiety, and adrenaline going at all times these days, it feels like the only card i could possibly draw today is the one i got: the ace of wands.ace-of-wands

aces are always representative of opportunities & beginnings, a seed being planted, the purest qualities of its suit. and when combined with wands, the suit of fire, energy, action, passion, movement, adventure… this is an incredibly high-powered card. bursting life, untapped potential, exploding energy – everything in this card screams to get moving, seize that opportunity, grab that new adventure. the wand in this card literally radiates fiery energy and power and light.

we’re in the process of filling out applications for new apartments, and our timelines for this move are so tight that every decision feels urgent, like we’re constantly falling behind. things feel like they’re careening out of control, flying through non-stop green lights and hairpin turns, and all we can do is breathe deep and hang on and hope that we stay on course. this card encourages me to keep pushing, to stay focused, to harness all of that frantic, stressful energy and channel it into positive steps forward. don’t fear the speed – use it.

this card can also speak to restlessness and uncertainty, both of which i certainly am flooded with at this moment. i think that simply acknowledging emotions (as yesterday’s card reminded me) can be really helpful in difficult situations, and that taking a beat to feel what i’m feeling is always a useful exercise. i have to keep pushing to resolve this situation and plan our move, but i can also pause for breath and remember to care for myself, to pace myself, to remain focused on the final outcome.

…& 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.