eyes wide open

i’ve been having a lot of strong, positive conversations regarding tarot lately – with both friends & strangers, experts & beginners. it’s challenging sometimes to hear what the cards have to say, to openly and honestly assess their message rather than working to twist it around, trying to make it fit in with desires and needs. and yet, seeing beyond what i want to see, forcing myself to sift through my emotional responses and truly honor the wisdom of the cards, feels like an important exercise, a way to grow and learn and continue to be open.

ace-of-swordstoday’s card is a flash of brilliance, illuminating honesty, a bright but challenging truth: the ace of swords. and while this card isn’t always an easy one for me to see, it seems to reflect my introspective mood, and my desire to continue expanding my knowledge of these cards. the sword itself is sharp and strong, confident in its potential, ushering in the beginning of this powerful suit of air and clarity and knowledge. there’s a decisive nature to this card, a choice to acknowledge what the lightning illuminates, to look beyond the darkness and clouds and rain to what is truly real. the sword is almost waiting, giving us a moment to consider if we’re prepared to wield it. are we ready to reach for that strong, unerring blade? can we handle what it may make known? or are we too afraid to grasp it, unsure of what may follow its revelations?

sometimes, we have to shield ourselves a bit. there are times for boundaries, for safety, for self-care, for acknowledging that we must remain hidden. we all have periods in our lives where the best thing we can do is protect ourselves, stay guarded, keep secrets. i don’t consider this weakness – indeed, sometimes it takes more courage than not – but there is a certain type of strength required to look directly at something scary, something ugly, something dark. uncovering truths, being brutally honest, forcing ourselves to accept something we don’t like – that’s a different kind of courage. and while some of my recent spreads have been savagely truthful, and while forcing ourselves to acknowledge the deep hatred and racism in our country is both painful and horrifying, ignoring the realities around us is not the way to find answers, or to move forward. refusing to look at what’s real and present is a huge part of what has gotten us here. i barely know how to fix the problems in my own life, let alone the institutional racism in this country (that i absolutely benefit from) – but there are people and powers out there that are far smarter than i am, that can give us ways we can help and remind us to listen to and learn from those that are disenfranchised, those that are frightened, those that are systematically oppressed.the-emperor

in search of more, i drew a major arcana card, both as a companion card and also to help kick off my week 3 exercises focusing on the major cards of the deck. the emperor is strong, practical, reliable, calm, structured, focused, grounded. he deals with problems clearly and firmly, with logic and order. and while he can be a challenging card for many, in this context he seems like precisely the type that would be able to carry the ace of swords, that could look calmly into difficult truths. the light around him is bright, the sun is burning, and his shape is bold and clear. the emperor’s strength is in his consistency, discipline, and ability to offer protection. he can teach us so much, but right now he seems to speak to my need to help, my desire to understand, my wish for those in power to actually care for and protect those that need the most protection. i’m not sure how to be the emperor today, but perhaps by grabbing the handle of the ace of swords, i can begin to learn.

IMG_1711these are huge ideas, powerful messages, and strong directives. there’s so much to be done, and i feel incredibly ill-equipped to do it. but while my little deck of cards feels like a feeble tool against such huge enemies and obstacles, today’s reminder to shine light in the darkness, to gaze unflinchingly at what’s in front of me, to refuse to cower in fear or hide behind those that are louder or shy away from the difficult conversations – that feels like a powerful place to start.

Advertisements

on the three of cups

IMG_0334i’ve written before about stalker cards, and this past month i have a new one – the three of cups. it’s not hard to pinpoint why, exactly – i’ve been struggling with changing relationships, feeling left out and misunderstood, battling my loneliness and trying to learn to reach out and ask for help more often.

the three of cups is a card of friendship and community, a safe space of honesty, love, and openness. this is a beautiful, comforting card, one that represents those that truly allow us to be ourselves. and while for most it’s a very welcome card, for me it’s come to represent a particular relationship that’s shifting, and other relationships that are lost. it feels like it’s mocking my feelings of doubt, isolation, and rejection. seeing it again today, reversed, feels very pointed. rather than letting this card stand alone, it seems like time to do a stalker spread.

 

1. What is the importance of this card in my life right now?

IMG_0315the mother of wands, a card of fierce loyalty, vibrant energy, and incredible passion. strong-willed, determined, and independent, this is a card that has shown up when i’m pushing myself, and when i’m scared – she tends to reveal herself when i need an extra boost of confidence and clarity, when i’m hesitating, when i’m doubting myself. she’s a reminder to fight for what’s right, to stay true to ourselves, to practice gratitude and focus on what matters.

in this reading, the mother of wands feels like a reminder to keep reaching for what i want. i’m afraid of relationships falling apart, i don’t want to push people away that i care about, and i don’t want to be alone with my troubles – but at the same time, i hate feeling vulnerable, asking for help, sharing my feelings. it may take a lot more effort on my part, and i may need to push myself to keep being honest and working through my issues, but it’ll be worth it to get what i want and need. i can’t keep bottling everything up, hoping that the people in my life will somehow magically know what i need. my friendships and communities matter deeply to me, and right now i need to fight for them, and to make an effort to connect with friends both near and far.

2. What is preventing me from hearing the message of this card?

strength, a card of gentle courage, personal power, and true patience. this card is a reminder to tap into that well of inner strength and mastery, to learn to walk in tandem with our inner demons rather than always engaging in battle, to exercise patience and IMG_0360love when working with others. it’s a beautiful, encouraging card, but a challenging one in this position.

while strength is generally considered a positive thing, something to aspire to and work towards, the cards seem to be saying that in this case, it’s become a hindrance. i’m clinging to a specific idea, mistaking my refusal to change for patience, perhaps not taking enough responsibility for my own feelings and actions. i keep ploughing ahead with the same view of the three of cups, sure that it alludes to my sadness and isolation, that it keeps popping up to taunt me. but there are plenty of cards that represent loneliness, depression, loss, grief, discouragement, rejection. is it so hard to take this card at face value, to believe that i have a community that cares about me? can i be strong enough to see this card for what it truly is? do i truly believe that showing vulnerability and feelings is a weakness, or can i embrace it as a true strength of will?

it’s time to stop seeing stubbornness as a synonym for fortitude. sometimes, strength comes in knowing when to shift, when to regroup, when to stop and breathe and reconsider. strength can be honesty, openness, admitting weakness and fear and brokenness. and rather than clinging to old ideas, calling it patience while i wait for things around me to change, perhaps it’s time to adjust my own attitude.

3. How can I release any blockages?

the ten of wands, a card of burnout, exhaustion, scattered energy and emotion. the suit of fire and passion, enthusiasm and opportunity, has reached its natural conclusion: feeling overwhelmed and utterly depleted. there’s a sense of burden and even shame here – too many things going on, feeling stretched in every direction, unsure of where to go next or how to succeed.

IMG_0312

this card is a reminder to focus on what truly matters, to strip away the distractions and all the extra, to remember where joy lives and to seek it out. and right now, that feels pretty damn impossible – i can see the fog of depression creeping over the horizon, my own sadness is at higher levels than usual, my therapist is out of town, i feel lonely and strange, everything is wrong but i’m doing my usual song-and-dance that everything is fine. i don’t want to fight through this tangle of branches, choosing the one that matters most – i want to use them for a bonfire, burn it all down, start over. and perhaps this is a reflection of how i feel about the three of cups: so many tangled feelings, making something that seems so simple and lovely into something utterly complicated and dark.

the ten of wands itself is a card that demands release, that advises us to let go of all those extra burdens and instead find the joy that started the whole mess. and the joy of the three of cups is so simple: feeling understood, feeling valued, feeling heard. knowing that you mean something to the people in your life, both those you see all the time and others that take more effort to stay connected with. i am lucky enough to have both, a community of friends in my city along with old friends i’ve known for years, though they’re much farther away. and while sometimes i’m stumbling in the dark, feeling utterly lost and alone, i have a family that i’ve chosen, that somehow has chosen me right back.

IMG_1692.jpg

i knew this spread would be a difficult one, and it is. i clearly have trouble accepting love and friendship, leaning on others, admitting when i need help. i’m much better at reaching out to friends that are in pain than i am at reaching out when i’m in pain. i struggle with believing that people truly care about me, especially when i’m battling my demons. but the three of cups keeps popping up not to mock me or insult me, but rather as a constant reminder that i matter to someone. it’s a difficult lesson for me, but it’s one i need to take to heart, particularly in this time of challenge and change.

hard truths

while this blog is named after the daughter of cups, a card i hope to grow into and evolve from, today i pulled a card that i identify with very strongly: the daughter of swords.

daughter-of-swordsfrank, observant, insightful, detail-oriented, and judgmental, the daughter of swords doesn’t miss a thing. this owl is watchful and honest, careful and clear, with no room for bullshit. she’s surrounded by the night sky, with glittering, colorful stars behind her, but her grip is on the blade of the sword rather than the handle. perhaps she’s not comfortable wielding it just yet, but this could also be a warning that the sword of truth can be sharp and double-edged. she’s a student of justice and truth, prefers to keep things simple and straightforward, and deals with situations head-on, though she isn’t unkind. she relies on her intellect and her powers of observation to get through tough situations, and those around her trust her to be truthful and strong.

paired with yesterday’s card, today’s drawing feels like it’s showing me how to approach the world again. i’ve been withdrawn, hesitant, unsure of how to shake off the last of this long-lasting depression. my legs are a bit wobbly. my head is still spinning. it’s so very tempting to continue to hide, to rely on others to tell me what to do, to pull that cloak of darkness back around myself and shy away from the light. but that’s no way to live, and it’s not the person that i want to be. i am stronger than that.

this daughter may not have all the answers – but she’s looking for them, and she isn’t afraid to be herself at the same time. she knows she’s not as adventurous as her older brother or as wise as her more experienced parents, but she also knows that her wide eyes and hungry mind will go a long way towards reaching her goals. and if i can lean into that hard truth, and not shy away from what’s in front of me, i can reach mine too.