on isolation

some days i wake up and know that the hours ahead are going to be difficult. call it intuition, call it fear, call it whatever you like – but today is not going to be a good day, and i know it in my bones.

i wish i knew how to navigate days like this, but i’m never sure what will help. i’ll make a to-do list, try to distract myself with mundane but necessary tasks. i’ll schedule a yoga class, take on a new project, go for a long walk with my dog. sometimes i share this feeling with those around me, but i usually just end up feeling guilty – it’s easier to isolate myself, stay quiet, hide away. nothing ever quite helps, and i know that when the sun goes down and i’m alone with my thoughts, things will feel impossible. it’s a scary feeling, an emptiness, a longing for relief that never comes.

IMG_0334hoping for some simple guidance and maybe even a bit of reassurance, i went to my cards – but my stalker card has once again reared its ugly head. the three of cups will not leave me alone, and i’m getting frustrated by the repetition. what are you trying to tell me?

this card showed up for the first time in early july, and has appeared four more times since, including in several spreads. i even did a stalker spread, and have resisted posting about it the last few times it’s popped up for daily readings. including today, that’s eight appearances in less than two months. i’m clearly missing an important element of this card, a significant message that i have to face. after so much reflection, after researching this card half to death, i’m still not sure what i don’t see.

this card represents celebration, community, accomplishment, beauty, joy, friendships, giving and receiving, compassion, sensitivity, harmony, positive energy, creativity, good times. it’s so positive, a card of contentment, understanding, feeling whole and accepted. and yet this card’s constant appearance brings a sense of dread, seems to mock my loneliness and isolation. if my community values me so much, why do i feel locked out of it? if contentment is present, why do i feel so miserable? if compassion and sensitivity are all around me, why do i feel alone and misunderstood?

reaching out is so difficult for me, and i hate doing it. everything in me resists. but this card feels like a lecture, forcing me to continue asking for help from people i feel don’t care about me very much. this card brings out shame in me, makes me feel embarrassed and contrary and just plain sad. i wish that a card with so much joy and love wrapped into its meaning didn’t make me feel completely alone, but somehow, it does.

what do you do when a card feels so wrong?

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worries, worries

all of my exercises for beth’s alternative tarot course this week focus on my personal feelings and goals for tarot: what is tarot for? what do i hope to achieve by reading? can tarot predict the future? and as i consider my connection to these cards, and why they’ve become so important to me, i have to acknowledge that i don’t see them as predictive. i seek insight, understanding, and a new perspective on questions when i read – i don’t rely heavily on the outcome cards in larger spreads or think that what the cards tell me is a guarantee. however, i do take their wisdom seriously, and meditate on their messages.

today’s card is one of sadness, worry, and hard times: the five of pentacles. and while this isn’t a particularly uplifting card to see, it does reflect some worries and difficulties i’ve been facing, and could speak to difficulties to come.

IMG_0322a vivid rose droops, stem slumped, losing a wilted petal in the darkness. in spite of her bright color and seemingly healthy leaf and stem, she is dejected, lost, carrying the weight of the world on her delicate petals. fives are related to loss, suffering, and failing to handle the suit, so as the five of pentacles this card speaks to illness, losing a job, financial troubles, or rejection. earthly concerns, a lack of that which keeps us grounded and stable and comfortable.

i wrote a few weeks ago about a worry that was consuming me, a narrative that i couldn’t see a way out of. and while in this case it was manifesting as swords, i acknowledged a very real concern, though one that i could be creating in my own mind. for me, these days pentacles feel less about money and more about the things that keep me feeling whole and strong: creative work, stories, friends, family, feeling connected to the world around me. while these things are more closely related to wands and cups, seeing a similar feeling of discouragement, worry, and loss reflected in the suit of pentacles feels like it’s hitting closer to home. IMG_0340

seeking advice, i pulled a clarification card: the nine of cups. a card of bliss, peace, and harmony, that seems to directly contradict the sadness and concern of the five of pentacles. this card represents good health, happiness, even material gains; a feeling of wholeness and satisfaction.

at first these cards felt contradictory – my tendency to read pentacles as the things that matter to me, rather than their more standard meaning as earthly possessions, makes for a confusing pairing. but just because i don’t place as much value on wealth and career as others, doesn’t mean that those things can’t still face trials. my current worries are centered on relationships, and the nine of cups speaks to that – it’s important to remember that my connection with the tarot is based in intuition, not prediction. my gut says that things will be hard, but my relationships with people will see me through – and that they are more solid than i think.

tarot’s main purpose for me is to expand my mind, help me see more deeply into myself and the world around me, and find meaning in things great and small. my cards challenge me to trust my intuition, to see beyond the superficial, to listen to my instincts and learn to rely on them to guide me. and while today’s cards aren’t shiny and happy, they reflect what’s going on in my head and my heart – and remind me to remember that what truly matters to me is not in jeopardy.

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.