shadows & surrender

i love my deck, but lately i’ve been itching to explore some new interpretations. since i’m still pretty new at tarot, i don’t want to become so attached to one specific set of cards that i can’t open myself up to new readings, new possibilities, new understandings of these archetypes and images. the only way for me to grow is to connect with new decks, new artistry, and look to find the deeper meanings that i might miss with my current cards. today’s reading was done with the fountain tarot, and is a perfect card for my state of mind: the moon.

IMG_1828illuminating the dark waves and casting luminous shadows over the world, the moon glows in the darkness, gentle light that teases and tricks the eye. the card is beautiful, evocative and layered, with gorgeous monochromatic blues and greys. i love the ghostly wolves standing on the piers, the ropes and beams playing with lines, the richness of the night sky. the moon is a card of mystery, trickery, imagination – we can easily get lost in those dark shadows, our feet and minds confused without the brilliance of the daylight. there’s a wildness to this card, a sense of temptation, a longing to stay trapped in that beautiful darkness, howl at the sky, get lost and refuse to be found.

the creators of this deck call it a surrender to darkness, and write, “…there is nowhere to anchor, and everything feels confusing and deceptive, though slightly seductive and familiar. even time seems to be disappearing, but there is an urgency for you to move, or risk being lost here forever.” that resonates with me so strongly, it took the breath right out of my lungs. there’s nothing lovely about depression, no hidden benefit or secret silver lining – it’s just darkness, ugliness, a horror that paralyzes. depression takes, and takes, and takes. but the moon reveals beauty in that darkness, creates new murkiness where before there was only clarity. the moon lets us journey through those shadows, find hidden truths, and explore the depths of our own souls – good, bad, and ugly.

IMG_1825.jpg

i never quite know if it’s better to surrender to the darkness, to give in to the inevitable, and try to ride it out with grace – or if i should fight to the bitter end, using every last muscle to keep the monster away for as long as possible. i’ve tried both; neither works. the shadows always come, the fog always covers me, the upside-down always traps me. there’s no escaping the darkness, merely delaying it. but this time around, i’m trying to just let it be, but stay open. i’m trying to keep talking, keep blogging, keep reading my cards. i’m forcing myself to connect, to share, to seek out those who may understand and try to build something.

scary stuff, to be honest. forcing myself to be introspective, to write, to share, to connect with others honestly and openly – it’s hard, and doesn’t come naturally to me. but my hope is that if i can keep a little crack in the door, if i can focus on that softly glowing celestial beauty in the distance, if i can find ways to keep my dimming creativity alive, then maybe this descent into the shadows won’t be quite as deep.

Advertisements

birth cards

rather than a regular single-card drawing, today i’m meditating on a specific card: my birth card, the high priestess. there are a lot of ways to calculate birth cards, but for me, every method produces this card.

IMG_0354the high priestess is one that i really love and admire: intuitive, psychic, wise, mysterious, calm, one that is comfortable in stillness. she is able to see beyond what most are capable of, listening carefully to what is both spoken and unspoken. most people, problems, and situations have much more going on under the surface, and the high priestess’ ability to see beyond the obvious and acknowledge what is hidden gives her the ability to find the truth. she has utter confidence in her strengths, understands her power, and does not fear what she does not know. she embraces the mystery, the tension of the unknowable, and puts emphasis on things we cannot prove but that simply are.

finding and meditating on my birth card is part of my week one exercises, and beth has a bit more information on numerology to explore. to gain further understanding and connection with my birth card, i’ll be using this simple three-card spread to explore the high priestess’ energy. a getting-to-know-you spread, so to speak.

1. how do you relate to this card? what is your relationship with this card?

IMG_0324

the seven of pentacles, a curious card in this position. this card can be considered the report card of the tarot, a chance to step back and evaluate progress, get organized, and consider whether the path forward is correct or if a shift should take place. in terms of the high priestess, this card could be showing that while i’m taking first steps towards becoming a more intuitive person and tarot reader, than i still have a ways to go. starting beth’s course and applying more disciplined work towards my practice is certainly a shift for me, since i started in a much more casual manner – but i do tend to to rely on books and blogs for my interpretations, rather than my own instincts. i want to be a more intuitive reader, but often get caught up in the idea of a correct meaning, rather than what my mind and heart tell me when i look at the cards. the orderly, organized fashion of this card seems in direct opposition of the calm, confident mystery in the high priestess, and doesn’t represent the kind of reader that i want to be.

2. how does this particular card reflect your own relationship with yourself, and what can you learn from it?

ace-of-wandsthe ace of wands, a card i’ve been seeing more and more. a bold opportunity, an exciting beginning, the fiery crackle of energy and movement – this card represents a fresh new start with a big idea. again, the fire and passion and anticipation all seem to contradict the peaceful stillness of the high priestess, making this a challenging card in this position.

i do like quiet, but i also am a very passionate person – and my eagerness to understand and move forward with tarot could be limiting my ability to deepen my practice and meditate with cards as i work with them. i want to be a strong reader, want to feel a deep connection with the cards, but my instinct after a spread or a daily draw is not to meditate and ponder, but rather to reach for my books and resources. analyzing and explaining the cards is not a bad instinct, but to rely on my intuition is a bigger challenge for me, and one that i should be focusing on. more luna, less hermione. 

3. how can you actively and positively integrate this archetype into your own life?
daughter-of-pentacles

the daughter of pentacles, a child and student of the earth who radiates peace, strength,and stillness. responsible and kind, she is supportive of those around her, hard-working, detail-oriented, and resourceful.

this card is a beautiful reminder that i am just getting started, that a year is not long to be reading tarot, that focusing on details is not a downfall but rather the means to an end. i need to accept where i am in this process, using the resources at my disposal but also trusting myself to solve problems on my own. my intuition is strong and present – i simply need to consider it a resource in my tarot reading, and remember that my instincts can be just as powerful as the meaning and interpretations of much more experienced readers.

IMG_1397

my birth card, the high priestess, is a powerful, inspirational card – and it’s completely okay that i’m not her yet. i’m still a daughter, a student, finding my way on shaky legs. but my ability to step back and reconsider, along with my fiery passion for this practice, will help me continue to grow and learn to trust my intuition and embrace the beautiful mystery of the tarot.

dual meanings

as i continue to reflect on what tarot is and why it’s important to me, i was delighted to pull a card for my daily reading that seems to embrace all the beautiful difficulties and contradictions of this practice: the two of swords.

IMG_0289this powerful card features two dark swords, identical in strength and size, locked together. a fiery eclipse hovers over their meeting point, with dark lines of energy pulsing away from their crossing.

this depiction in the wild unknown is very different from the more traditional images of a woman standing blindfolded, holding a sword in each hand, contemplating and considering what she cannot see. where the wild unknown image feels like conflict or a stalemate, the original image feels peaceful, contemplative, like the woman featured is pushing other things out of the way to focus on what matters. i love the duality of this card, the variety of meanings that can be drawn from it. two opposing forces clashing, with no one able to move forward, all that energy stalled by an contradictory force. but they could also be unified, lending one another strength, joining those strong forces together to achieve a common goal or purpose. there’s such focus, a beautiful balance and symmetry that speaks to a completely different energy.

week one of beth’s alternative tarot course includes a lengthy list of questions, all centered around tarot, including history, meaning, purpose, abilities, and how that connects to me as a reader. and when i consider what drew me to tarot in the first place, this card is a perfect example: i love the duality, the hidden meanings, the way that every card feels full of possibilities. obviously the suits and courts, the major and minor cards, all have patterns and inherent symbolism that lends each card to specific meanings. but all of that is open to interpretation, allowing individual readers to listen to the cards and hear their message.

mother-of-cupsthe appeal of the beautiful mystery and elusive nature of tarot is what compelled me to choose the mother of cups as my personal card for the duration of this course. it was a strong influence in my reader’s reading a few days ago and is a card i’ve written about many times already. her wisdom, natural intuition, empathy, solitude, and psychic abilities are appealing and inspiring to me, and represent much of what i hope to gain from learning tarot. this card makes me feel powerful and strong, reminds me to listen and find wisdom in stillness, and gives me courage to trust my instincts and my intuition.

 

passing time

after a hectic and challenging week, along with a running race that i was certainly not prepared for and a busy weekend of planning several upcoming trips, i’m now facing a very quiet few days. only one shoot scheduled, editing finished, nothing major on the agenda. it was no surprise to draw a card that so often symbolizes confusion, procrastination, and choices: the seven of cups.

IMG_0338this card pops up a lot, both in my daily readings and also in my thoughts. it’s beautiful and confusing, a colorful, entrancing illusion, often pointing to tangled feelings, deception, temptation, or the power of dreams and decisions. sometimes we get so caught up in a fantasy that we lose our grasp on what’s actually in front of us; other times we’re simply dazzled by all of the lovely options in front of us and paralyzed by choice. in my case, a sudden end of my work to-do list leaves me with endless options for how to spend my week. my personal tendency to disappear and lose time can often take over, and since i’m still considering how best to compose coming-out letters to family members, my brain feels like a jumbled mess. i’ve been relying on my work to keep me busy, but now that everything is completed i need to come to terms with the best way to communicate.

i don’t mind mystery or challenges, but this card can point to so many things that i often pull a clarifying card along with it to give me a direction to consider. in this case, my card is much more grounded and clear: the mother of pentacles. whenever i pull this card i feel that it’s reminding me to care for mother-of-pentaclesmy husband and family, to use my energy and resources to help them however possible. with extra time and energy this week, it seems like a perfect opportunity to offer assistance, get organized, and be a kind and compassionate caretaker. my husband is very overwhelmed these days and while i can’t solve any of his problems (my first instinct when things are going badly for anyone), i can listen, offer empathy, and do what i can to lift other small burdens around the house. i’m not always good with words, preferring to express affection and love through actions or gifts, but in this case my energy can be focused on a way that it will have true impact on the ones that need it.

the mother of pentacles feels like the opposite of self-care; rather, she devotes her time and resources to those she cares about. i can use my energy for them today, and find a way to help myself tomorrow.

mystery of the moon

today’s daily reading included a major arcana card i haven’t yet worked with, but have been wanting to tackle for some time: the moon, number thirteen.

the-moon

as a lifelong insomniac, i’ve always had a complicated relationship with nighttime. for so many the darkness brings release, a wild freedom that only comes when the pressures and expectations of the day are shed. under the light of the moon, we’re allowed to be whoever we are, to give in to whatever desires we suppress during the harsh, unforgiving light of day.

but as someone that struggles to sleep, nighttime brings its own complicated expectations. what should be a time of rest, of peace, of soothing dreams is instead a stressful, exhausting struggle to simply let go of consciousness. sleep should be the easiest thing in the world, but for me, it is something i have to work and struggle to find.

but the nighttime itself? that’s something fierce and untamed, something undefinable. there’s a delicious sense of space, a dissolving of borders, that allows us to give in to the true depths of our being. sitting in the darkness, feeling the moonlight on my skin – that can feel like the most honest place i know.

the moon is a card of beautiful mystery, and its interpretations are varied and complex. some readers see this card as a sign of madness, delusions, being under the power of something greater. the loss of control, the ties of bondage, the demons of addiction can all be found in this card. the power of the moon is formidable, and can drive us to the very edges of sanity – or even push us over.

others see it as an invitation to the mystical, encouraging us to leave behind reality, step out of our daytime comfort zones, and explore this beautiful unknown world that’s revealed by the moonlight. letting go of the sunshine-drenched expectations and allowing ourselves to give in, to see things differently, can spark such creativity and imagination.

for me, i see a lot of potential in a bit of madness. surrendering to that wild abandon, losing ones self for a time in creative passion and finding a muse can be just the thing to help us feel more grounded and whole during time under the sun, when we have to be the most put-together versions of ourselves. some of my best writing, my deepest thinking, my most honest conversations (with others and with myself) have come from late nights under a crescent moon. there’s something beautiful and magical in wandering the darkness for a spell, letting the pale light of the moon change our perspective on familiar surroundings. and while these explorations can sometimes reveal fears and anxieties we wish we hadn’t discovered, they can also uncover hidden dreams and desires, and show us ways to be less afraid.