feet in the flames

these past few weeks have involved a lot more spreads than usual, so i wanted to get back to basics today with a single-card reading. the cards had bigger plans though, getting right in my face with an intense draw: the devil.

the-devili’ve worked with this trickster before, and his general meanings are difficult. addiction, inner demons, bondage, materialism, negativity, enslavement, a prison of our own making – this card speaks to inner darkness, the temptations and wickedness that lives within us all. often this card is seen as a wake-up call, a harsh reminder to examine our own failings and make some serious adjustments. we all have secrets, challenges, inner desires that we’re ashamed of, but often the easiest way to overcome these difficulties is by acknowledging them. it seems impossible to ignore something as dramatic as feet in the flames, but as humans we’re very good at ignoring negative things, even when they may be hurting us.

and this could certainly be the message for me today. i’ve been in a weird head space lately, disappointed with myself, feeling isolated from friends and family, craving a new project or start to get me motivated and energized. i feel lazy, slow, uncomfortable. i hate the idea of blaming outside forces for my problems (“the devil made me do it” is the ultimate way to avoid taking responsibility, don’t you think?), but i think my inner devil has been having a field day with my sluggishness, my lack of motivation, my feelings of discomfort in my own world and head and body.

but is that all? a clarifying card is in order, as it so often is with major arcana cards. and my second pull has me reconsidering what the devil might be telling me: the nine of cups, a card of finding pleasure, reveling in contentment, and enjoying harmony.

IMG_0340i don’t see this card often, but when i do it’s paired with a difficult card, like the tower. it’s a lovely card, a reminder to enjoy life to the fullest and appreciate the present, but it often feels like a snarky reminder that my life is just fine, thank you very much – i have people that love me, a good relationship with my family, a fairly strong marriage, a job that i love, a safe place to live, plenty of food and clothing, enough money to occasionally buy frivolous things… i could go on, but you get the point. what do i really have to complain about? why the depression, the darkness, the moodiness and struggles and sadness?

as a clarifying card for the devil, i see something completely different: enjoy what you have, and stop taking everything so damn seriously. indulge a little. find something that brings you happiness, even if it’s just for a moment. beth writes about how the devil is not always bad – he can encourage us to live a little, embrace a bit of wickedness, let go and find pleasure in what we can.

i like fire. i’m not afraid of the dark. but i also feel stuck in a rut, tired and cranky, sad and defeated. perhaps it’s time for something new, something fun, something that’s just for me to help pull me out of this weird place that i’m stuck in.

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my girl

today’s daily reading is a card i’ve been anticipating diving into: the daughter of cups, and the namesake for this blog. she’s not who i am, she’s my goal girl. she’s my fantasy girl. she’s the girl i hope to someday become, on my magical intuitive journey to be queen of the universe or high priestess of the emotional realm or whatever.

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this lovely baby swan is resting serenely in still waters, gazing off into the distance, calmly paddling below but careful not to disturb the quiet. she’s lost in the world of her emotions and imagination, quietly casting a rainbow reflection onto the surface. she is graceful, calm, innocent, beautiful. she personifies stillness, harmony, and peace. she is a child of the court of cups, eager to learn, celebrating her emotions, testing the waters of her intuition. she revels in her creativity, lives for her art, struggles to stay grounded in reality. she is just beginning to understand the power of emotional strength, the importance of the full spectrum of feelings, the strength it takes to keep an open mind and heart.

in readings, the daughter of cups reminds us that we have much to learn about our personal emotional landscapes. having feelings is not bad – learning from our emotions makes us strong, intelligent, nuanced creatures. we need to embrace our emotions, keep our hearts open, and not judge ourselves for our reactions and needs. i always love to see this card, as she serves as a gentle reminder that i have much to learn about myself, but i’ve begun the journey.

let’s be clear – this girl is not me. i am absolutely not the daughter of cups. realistically, i daughtershave far more in common with the daughter of swords, or the daughter of wands. and in readings, i’m far more likely to get a mother than a daughter in positions that represent myself. i’m passionate, can be difficult, am often stubborn, and tend towards being secretive. i’m fiercely loyal, and while i’m not great at standing up for myself, i will do anything to protect the people i love. i’m practical, and sarcastic, and usually pretty cranky. i’m independent, and introverted, and inquisitive.

but cups represent water, and emotions, and intuition. and i’ve said it before, but as a
scorpio i identify strongly with the suit of cups. i may not share her grace and beauty, her kindness, or her innocence, but i feel strongly that the daughter of cups can teach us much about our emotions, and that the hidden depths within each of us can be the most significant pieces we have to offer. i value my intuition highly, and strive to develop it more and more each day. i want to be more sensitive, more kind, more generous. i want to become the daughter of cups so that i can grow into the mother of cups, and perhaps someday fully develop into my birth card, the high priestess.

i have so much to learn, but we all have to start somewhere.

finding balance

there’s beauty in moderation.

temperance

…right?

today’s card is temperance, yet another major arcana card that i haven’t worked with, and what feels like the proper conclusion to my three-day stretch of intense, challenging cards. the moon, the devil, temperance – this trio of fierce, powerful cards has been pushing me hard.

i’ve read a variety of bloggers that find temperance a boring, rather uninspired card – one that can scold or nag, tell us to pull back, calm down, get it together. and while i can certainly understand that interpretation, seeing it for the first time in this context of difficult cards actually gives me a lot of hope and inspiration.

temperance can be an admonition of restraint or self-control, but the wild unknown focuses on the ideas of renewal, healing, awareness, and balance, which i find lovely. after cards that tell me to find my madness, but perhaps not overdo it, this feels like a reminder that harmony in all things is vital. diving into the hidden mysteries of the moon is a beautiful thing, but the devil tells me to be aware of the temptation to become addicted to the quiet, luscious fantasy.

as i work to find balance in my life, it’s clear to me that my default mode is one of quiet introspection. given a day or two without work or clear plans, i slip into a vague world of books, tarot, music, and very little else. i don’t take myself out to meals, find photography projects, or even cook – i simply exist in a peaceful, sedentary world of my own making. lately the days are slipping by with very little to define them, strings of beads that are all hazy and identical. what have i been doing with my time besides reading, exploring my cards, taking baths? it sounds incredibly lazy and self-indulgent, and it is – after long weeks of dealing with my dog’s illness, being sick myself, and throwing myself into work during every spare minute, i seem to have slipped into a waking dream.

i’ve thought these cards were about my tarot practice, but perhaps it’s a bigger issue at play here – my introspection seems to have reached expert level status, and i’m quite content to have little structure and next to no human interaction. and perhaps this is just a long period of healing, from so much stress with holidays and travel, the inauguration and resulting horrors, waiting every day to move to a new neighborhood, starting therapy. perhaps i’ve spent so many weeks under the moon, wandering a dark landscape that only i can see, that it’s time to pull myself out and back into the real world. i know i drift into the darkness easily, and it’s not all bad there – but it can’t be the only place i live.

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