grasping magic

depression is settling around me like a heavy fog. i can feel it thickening, its weight growing by the day, blocking out the light and making it more difficult to do basic tasks. everything becomes harder, slower, painful, requiring more energy and stamina than usual. my spoons are running low. i’m growing disinterested in the world around me.

sometimes the beginning is the worst, because i can still remember where i was just a few days ago. once i’m in it, i’m really in it – i lose track of time, days blur together, and it’s hard to tell just bad it is until i can crawl back out into the light. right now i can still make myself do things, still find joy in friends and favorite things, but it’s all a bit dulled, and i know it will only get dimmer as the days pass. i hope i’m not stuck here for too long, i think, as my head slips under the water.

IMG_0353what can the cards offer me, in their wisdom and insight and kindness? today’s draw is the magician, a card of purpose, action, energy, and empowerment. armed with his knowledge of all four minor suits, he sits in stillness, but plots his next move. he’s confident, independent, filled with awareness. he doesn’t act simply to be busy, but rather with purpose and intent, aware of his goals and the passions that drive him. the air around him shimmers with possibility, potential, something just a moment away. a brilliant sun, so similar to the radiant card i pulled just a few days ago, shines behind him, bathing him in light. his way forward is illuminated, clear, and he simply waits for the perfect moment to take that first, strong step.

i’ve only drawn this card once before, when i was weeks into the upside-down. it was a stark reminder that even small actions can have power, that simple tools can accomplish great things, that using my energy in strong, deliberate ways can have a major impact. it’s not always about huge goals, grand gestures, massive undertakings – sometimes even small steps forward is still better than standing still (or hiding underground).

i’ve been fighting this round of depression diligently, keeping myself busy with tasks and little goals even as i could feel the shadows lurking behind me. it felt like the moment i stopped, the second i turned around or acknowledged its presence, depression would consume me. and when i did, it did. but the magician tells a different story, reminds me of the tools at my disposal, my ability to cling to bits of light when i need it, my drive to find projects to fuel my passions. rather than simply waiting for something to arrive, there’s beautiful intention in this card – the magician plans his course, gathers the resources he needs, and moves forward calmly and deliberately. IMG_1803

i’m trying to keep moving, trying to stay honest, trying to keep connections alive. i’m being brutally honest on social media right now, more than ever before. i’m making sure friends and family know where i’m at. i’m connecting with the online tarot community in new ways. i have a therapist that’s aware of my mindset and is always a phone call away. i even have an emergency plan, just in case things get too dark, too heavy, too much.

but i think this is a strong card for me to meditate on and channel today. i don’t have to conquer the world, or escape my depression, or achieve every goal i can come up with – i just have to grasp a little magic. and for today, that can be enough.

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let’s go

today’s card is one that always brings me a bit of anxiety, and a lot of expectation: the two of wands. and while this is not a welcome card for me, there’s so much to unpack and sort through as i consider the why.

traditionally, the two of wands is a card of determination, IMG_0304willpower, potential, embracing power, taking a big step forward. horizontal lines indicate stability and power, but all those colors of the rainbow remind us of the limitless promise here – all that energy can be focused just about anywhere. there’s so much possibility here, taking the fiery energy and opportunity present in the ace and harnessing it into something concrete. having the fire and the passion to get excited about something is a great start, but without channeling that energy into something specific, it can fizzle out, fade away, or simply get lost. we have to be willing to reach out and grab those wands, point that colorful, vibrant energy towards something, and get going.

for some, i imagine this is a really exciting card. new ideas! a call to action! potential for greatness! but for me, i simply see pressure. there’s so much expectation when starting something new, so many challenges to get things right, that i’m afraid to even start.

i’ve written before about the stories that we tell ourselves, the way that we view our personalities and strengths and experiences, and how that often looks very different than the way others perceive us. i think that’s a fundamental part of the human experience, that no matter how self-aware we strive to be, we will always see ourselves in a specific way that may not align with the way we appear to the world around us. my view of myself has always been fairly specific, both in terms of what i am and what i’m not: hardworking, but not ambitious. creative, but not a creator. passionate, but not goal-oriented. interesting, but not unique. i am someone that can help people achieve their goals, craft their art, support their dreams, but i don’t have lofty ambitions or life-long objectives of my own. i’m artistic, but i’m not my own artist – i can contribute and complete, but i don’t have enough ideas to actually start something.

…which makes a card like this, that’s all about learning and building and focusing, feel impossible. what could i make, say, create, that hasn’t already been done a hundred times? why would my struggles, my lessons, my thoughts matter to anyone? how could i express myself that wouldn’t feel redundant, or simply ridiculous?

the answer is that i don’t know. i’m more comfortable in a supporting role, but this card is not about comfort. this card is about taking all those swirling ideas, those niggling fragments of inspiration, those random scribbles in notebooks and hastily-written, half-finished stories, and channeling them into something real. whether or not anyone sees it is not the point – the purpose is to actually make or do or say the thing, to craft it into something that matters. the point is the process, the journey, the attempt. simply making the effort isn’t the first step, it’s the third or fourth in an long series – and it can be the hardest one.

i’m not sure where this is going yet, but what’s clear is that it’s time to get started.

keeps on turning

back in the city, back to real life. today’s card is a perfect reminder that everything is connected and the world keeps on turning: the wheel of fortune.

IMG_0362this is a card i’ve only worked with once before, but it’s one that i find very appealing. there are so many colorful threads, so many knots and tangles and loops that connect everything together. we can’t always trace the lines, don’t always see how one thing impacts another, but everything is linked. in the middle of the mess, it’s hard to see why things are happening or how it could possibly end well, but with time and perspective we can see the whole picture, learn valuable lessons, gain fuller insight into our world. and even when the wheel spins on its head, when we flip from the top to the bottom without warning, there is still a sense of something greater than ourselves, a power bigger than our own small selves.

change is inevitable. control is fleeting. most days, the world can look like nothing more than beautiful, terrible chaos. the world can be upended in an instant – whether we recognize that change or not. and this card encourages us to remember humility, to not get too high-and-mighty, to stay aware of our actions and our contributions to this world of ours. we can only do so much, control so much, change so much.

IMG_0304major arcana cards are the theme of my next week of exercises through beth’s course, and in the spirit of continuing to learn i drew a second companion card. a perfect reminder to not surrender all of my power, the two of wands is a card of willpower, determination, decisiveness, and potential. rather than cowering in fear at the wheel of fortune, seeing it as a symbol of inevitability and fate and destiny, i need to also remember that i still have agency and independence. the world may keep turning whether or not i’m here, but i still have opportunities to make my mark. i have a role to play in this life, things to create and speak and do. one of those colorful threads represents me, and what i do with my time and energy and spirit can matter. i don’t want to get too big, too arrogant, too confident – but i shouldn’t let the power of the wheel crush me either.