to spite the face

both of today’s cards are difficult, involving swords and the self. i’m in a tough mental place right now and the cards are certainly reflecting that. let’s start with my first pull: the five of swords.

five-of-swordsself-destruction, internal battles, personal suffering. fives are often centered on the self, and can represent challenges, even a personal hell. swords, the suit of air and mental agility, can push this card to represent a real disconnect, a severing of the heart and mind. something is missing, whether it’s simple indecision or a more complex issue of communication. am i hiding something from myself? denying an issue that everyone else can see? am i being my own worst enemy?

this is a tough card today, as i wrestle with my anxiety over our move, sore muscles from a tough run in the cold yesterday, and struggle to decide if i should head to the doctor sooner rather than later for a breathing issue that’s developing. i’m having trouble making any decisions, and really just want to sit at home all day and play video games. i want to be selfish, want to ignore the bad stuff and just get lost in my imagination for a awhile. one of my resources described this card as “cutting off the nose to spite the face” and it rings very true for this card – making a hasty, poor decision that ultimately hurts everyone, and hurts the decision-maker the most.seven-of-swords

my clarifying card gave some similar messages: the seven of swords.

i’ve pulled both of these cards recently in larger readings (the five of swords in a reader’s spread, and the seven of swords in a clarifying reading for a recurring card), but haven’t pulled either for a single-card daily reading recently. sevens are about personal attainment or practical advice, showing us how to achieve our goals. the seven of swords can point to secrecy, self-preservation, staying on guard. this fox can also speak to selfishness, but it’s purposeful – he knows that there’s a lot of danger ahead and is prepared for anything. he’s waiting for the other shoe (or one of those swords overhead) to drop.

i’m in a pretty foggy state of mind, still completely exhausted, not feeling well, overwhelmed and frustrated with myself and my situation. i think my cards are reflecting that – i want to just retreat, ignore everything happening, indulge in self-indulgent behaviors and ignore all those swords hanging over my head. the temptation is there, surely – but i need to be stronger than this. i need to be an adult, honor my responsibilities, and find ways to take care of myself through these difficult days.

pausing to breathe

i’ve been pulling a lot of joyful cups lately, reminding me to give love, to seek happiness, to experience the full range of emotions that my heart has to give. today, however, is the day for a few of those darker feelings to come in: the five of cups.

five-of-cups

this card is a bit sad, true – the poor horse looks lost and beaten-down, and stares morosely into the darkness around her. she’s so deeply entrenched in her grief and pain that she completely misses the five cups hovering overhead, full of light and comfort.

but while this five can signal challenges in emotions, difficult feelings, and disappointment in relationships, it also seems to give permission to just be sad for awhile. so often when we’re dealing with something painful, the first instinct is to say “buck up! don’t be sad! look around at everything wonderful! it’s not that bad! get back to regular life!” but i’ve found that pushing away dark feelings and pretending they don’t exist doesn’t actually make them go away – it simply allows them to hide and fester, eating away at any positive ground until they become so strong that they cannot be ignored any longer. i think acknowledging our emotions, whether they’re positive or negative, is such a difficult but important part of being human.

as someone that deals with depression, i don’t always have a choice – depression is synonymous with genuinely sad emotions like grief, regret, or sorrow. it’s painful and impossible, and it comes from a different place that’s outside of relationships and circumstances. but while it’s not exactly the same, my depression has taught me that giving myself permission to be sad, no matter where those feelings come from, can be a gift. sometimes we just need to retreat into the darkness, mourn and cry and scream, and release all of that pain. we might channel it into art or music or writing or beauty, or we might simply let it go. and when we’re ready to come back to the light, all we have to do is look around and see those bright, overflowing cups  – that previously were just out of reach.