finding inner light

another wand. this suit has been with me all week – there are clearly some lessons to glean here: inspiration into action, passionate creativity, the power of important challenges. today’s card is a beautifully empowering one: the seven of wands.

IMG_0309

a bright flame stands alone, illuminating the darkness all around. the other wands are piled in the corners, leaning against walls, seemingly exhausted or cast aside. the others have succumbed to the darkness, but our bold seven stands up straight, on her own power. that brilliant flame is the only color here, and is not merely a spark but a full, beautiful light.

sevens are focused on personal attainment, achieving a goal, and providing some practical advice. and with so many wands in my recent readings, it’s impossible not to feel that my cards are pushing me to find that inner strength, to seek that fiery confidence of the seven of wands. she’s bold, powerful, and solitary – proud of her inner strength, unafraid to be an individual, following her heart and spirit to be as brilliant as she can. there’s so much encouragement in this card, a real “take no shit” attitude that i love. shine on, little wand.

this can be easier said that done. it’s not always easy to be brave, to be proud, to stand tall and alone. embracing our inner weird, not shying away from what makes us individuals, and having the confidence to burn alone can be a terrifying prospect. but whatever it means, for you reading and for me writing, finding that inner light can be essential to keep going. i keep writing about this darkness i’m trapped in, and this beautiful card reminds me to trust my inner fire, to let that little spark guide me through my day.

what’s next?

i was thinking a lot about the dual nature of tarot as i prepared to draw this morning’s card, particularly how sons/knights can represent the strengths and weaknesses of each suit. i find them such fascinating, difficult cards, and was intrigued that i hadn’t pulled one in awhile, particularly since i’ve been in such a challenging mental state for so long.

my cards do seem to tease me, because of course i pulled the son of wands as today’s daily draw. clearly i have more reflecting to do.

son-of-wandsoh, this charming, clever, passionate son. bold and confident, adventurous but flighty, he brandishes his fiery wand with pride and stares straight ahead, never looking back. he knows what he wants and it doesn’t even occur to him that his plan might not work out. this son of fire, of energy, of inspiration and creativity, is always on the move. he pushes forward, obsessive and driven, craving the next high and completely sure of his place in the world. i’ve written about him before, but today i think he carries a different message for me.

there’s no fear in this snake, no hesitation, no room for self-doubt. he’s ruled by his passions, by that constant need for adventure – everything in his posture is about the next big thing. wrapped around the wand, bathed in the brilliance of its light, he barely seems aware of what’s around him. he’s focused solely on what’s next.

and while this card clearly carries warnings, and there can be danger in this kind of single-minded pursuit of passion and glory and excitement, there’s something so lovely in his pure, unadulterated eagerness. he could be the captain of a ship, staring into the storm without fear. he could be a warrior, believing in the honor of the upcoming battle. he could be a firefighter, assessing the blaze and knowing it’s time to run into it. that intense focus, that readiness for whatever is around the corner – he’s not afraid of the challenge, he’s actually seeking it, anticipating the next big thing.

to actually welcome what’s coming, even if it’s unknown – there’s beauty there. and after yesterday’s three of wands, with its glimpses of a colorful future, perhaps i can begin to seek hope too.

finding the color

after yesterday’s nightmarish draw, i was quite hesitant to return to the cards this morning. the nine of swords was so present in my day, and night, and i couldn’t seem to find that wand energy that i knew i needed. but today’s card seems to be continuing the energy of my clarifying card: the three of wands.

this is a powerful card, full of both intention and action. the ace and two are about IMG_0305inspiration, finding direction, and moving forward towards a specific goal. the three seems to solidify that movement, encouraging the reader to envision the future, clarify goals, and invest fully in a strong sense of self. threes reflect the power of the suit in action, and wands are all about growth, energy, and fiery passion. the wild unknown guide stresses that it’s time to “rely on yourself for guidance” and explains that “the future is infinite and it is yours.”

and the swirling colors and brilliant light depicted between the intersecting wands are indeed beautiful and infinite. there’s endless possibility here; a vibrant, colorful future that is ready to be shaped. limitless, transcendent, brimming with hope.

except.

all i can see these days is that grotesque vision from the nine of swords. and the inescapable upheaval of the tower. and the necessary abandonment in the eight of cups. and i’m so tired of writing about depression, seeing depression, being depression. i can’t escape it. it’s been dragging on so very long, consuming everything in its path, and i’m ready for fresh air, for light, for color. everything is a tangled mess of ugliness and i’m desperate to get out. how do i change the seemingly permanent hellscape in my mind into this glorious vision of a dynamic, effervescent future?

IMG_1047

frankly, i don’t have a clue. i don’t have fresh new ideas, or opportunities bursting forth from nowhere, or boundless energy to pour into passion projects – just getting out of bed feels like an accomplishment. i have no spoons for anything these days. the pure, blinding optimism of the three of wands feels absolutely impossible.

but maybe this card is simply reminding me that somewhere in the future, hopefully not as far away as i think, is a glimmer of light. maybe this card is a small reminder that there is life outside of depression, that the world isn’t always this dim, that eventually color will start to seep back into my vision.

tarot isn’t meant to be literal. and it doesn’t tell the future, or always answer directly. but i hope this is my deck’s way of looking into my eyes, squeezing my hand, and telling me that it’s going to be okay.

the horror inside

it’s finally come for me: the nine of swords.

as someone that’s battled insomnia and depression for most of my life, i knew when i began tarot that eventually this card would find me. and after almost a year of reading, i’m a little shocked that this is the first time i’ve ever drawn it.

IMG_0296this card is the definition of horror. disgusting, confusing images crowd this card, dark and twisted, and it’s difficult to even tell what is happening. the longer you look at it, the more revolting and upsetting it becomes. symbolizing dark visions, anguish, and the nightmares that keep us up all night, this is a card i’ve been dreading. it seems to represent everything that i hate about myself, everything i fear, all in one hideous image.

there are certain weapons against depression that i can wield during the day. they don’t always work, but when i have tasks to accomplish, a mile-long to do list, or deadlines looming, i can usually force myself to set the darkness aside for a bit and get things done. and daylight offers other comforts – friends, television, delivery food. even at my worst, daytime is always easier.

but the middle of the night, oh. that’s when it’s always harder. everyone is asleep, darkness reigns, and the world is silent and still. it’s just me, alone and anguished, trapped in the endless upside-down. once those bad thoughts start, once i fall down that rabbit hole, it can be absolutely impossible to stop, breathe, and remember who i really am. problems become unsolvable, friends seem like enemies, and everything seems utterly hopeless. i’ve had a few nights like this in the past few weeks, and they never get easier.

is there any hope in this card? carrie notes that while the nightmare itself is a tangled mess, the swords themselves are orderly and evenly spaced, attacking the beast from all sides. swords are all about mental energy, and it’s important to note that this entire hideous thing is in the mind. as beth states, this is mental self-torture. it’s completely self-created, self-inflicted. this whole ugly thing is inside my mind.

i decided to give myself the gift of a clarifying card this morning, and the energy couldn’t be more different: the ace of wands.

bold as hell, crackling with wild, fiery, passionate energy, this energetic card is all about ace-of-wandsexciting adventures, fresh creativity, and flashes of brilliant inspiration. where the swords are dark and tortured, pushing all that negativity inward towards a secret nightmare, this ace pushes inspiration outward. those colorful beams of enthusiasm seem to go on forever.

the message here seems clear – put your energy outward today. find that fire, share your enthusiasm, spread positive energy, and perhaps you can conquer the hideous nightmare waiting at midnight. make the day bright and strong, and the night won’t seem quite so dark. i keep stabbing myself with those sharp edges, letting my mental swords cut me down – but the brilliant fire of those wands can help.

the monsters never seem quite so bad in the light.

standing up

it’s been a long, hard few months. after yesterday’s post got much more personal than i usually am in this space, i spent a lot of time reflecting on where i am, where i’ve been, and where i’m going. depression is a long, winding road, with no real destination or end in sight. it’s a tough path to travel. but sometimes there’s such beauty to be found in darkness, and a poignancy to pain that can reveal harsh, but essential truths. while this isn’t a journey i would choose, it’s one i must take, and all i can do is keep my eyes and ears open to the lessons i can find along the way.

after so much introspection, i’m rather delighted by today’s card: the magician.

IMG_0353a new card for me, and one of self-empowerment, stamina, strength, and spirit. the wild unknown book describes the magician as “a card of boundless, expansive energy,” and indeed, the card is vivid, almost pulsing with light. the wildcat is strong, graceful, courageous, and wields the energy of all four suits with ease. he’s aware of his surroundings, but not afraid of them. there’s beautiful potential here, an anticipatory feeling of stillness, readiness. the magician is poised, awake, aware. he knows that he has the tools needed to conquer any situation, and the fortitude to know which skill will be needed in order to succeed.

after so many weeks in the dark, knowing that i’m still probably going to be drowning for a bit longer, this is an immensely empowering card. all about action, the magician knows what to do and how to do it. there’s no self-doubt, no confusion, no hand-wringing or gnashing of teeth or hiding in a corner. there’s such bold, quiet confidence here, such beauty and power and intensity. and while i may not feel that in myself at this very moment, pushing myself to find actions that i can take to find my own beauty and power and intensity feels like good advice.

i think it’s okay to not always be okay. but remembering that action is possible even when you feel completely and utterly powerless can be a beautiful reminder of what we are all capable of. the tools are right there – i just need to find a way to grab them and wield them with grace.

seven again

i’ve been taking a bit of a break from tarot, unplanned but perhaps subconsciously. i’ve been so drained, so exhausted, and it felt like drawing cards was just spinning my wheels. sometimes it can be helpful to have feelings and thoughts mirrored in the cards, a kind of validation – but the last week or two i haven’t found it helpful. i’ve missed my daily ritual, but i think it’s been good for me to step back a little and reflect on what i’m really seeking from these daily draws.

we’ve officially signed a lease, and are moving on monday. this very long-awaited change is finally happening, and all of those to-do lists i’ve been writing can finally be put into action – and i’m exhausted. time to gather all the courage and strength i have left. today’s daily pull is the seven of wands.IMG_0309

i love getting new cards that i haven’t worked with before, especially when they seem to say exactly what i need to hear. sevens are all about evaluating where you’re at and making adjustments to meet your goal – they’re cards of choice, a kind of “temporary perfection” as one forum reader put it. we feel that we could be done, that we’ve achieved our goal, but sevens can show us that we actually have farther to go. we need to rally, gather our strength, and carve out a path to the end.

the seven of wands can traditionally be interpreted as preparing for a battle, someone pushing themselves to overcome difficulty or challenges, to gain the upper hand. while i’m hardly preparing for a fight, i am struggling to overcome this depressed haze i’ve been in for the past few weeks. not full out depression, mind you, just a kind of fog that i can’t get out of. this beautiful image of a single wand illuminating the darkness, finding their inner spark, unafraid to shine light boldly, really inspires me. that quick burst of fire is so necessary, pushing forward, finding adrenaline, bursting forth with energy and passion. but it’s so easy to burn out, to expend energy too quickly, and this card can also caution me to watch my energy and make sure i have enough to complete my goals.

stalker cards

the nine of wands keeps coming up for me – this is the third time i’ve seen it in two weeks. it seems to describe this move so aptly, and it feels like it’s haunting me. i even dreamed about this card the other night. i can’t seem to escape it.

nine-of-wands

when a card is recurring like this, i think it’s tempting to blow it off or find a way to explain it all – yeah, yeah, i get it. especially with a card like this, in a situation like this: we’ve been working towards this move for months, it seems like every stage gets more complicated and difficult, and this card signifying the end of a long journey and perseverance seems rather… obvious.

many of my resources talk about stalker cards, and the importance of giving them their due. when a card continues to show up in different readings, it’s trying to tell us something important, make us see something that we’re missing. and while the meaning of this card seems fairly straightforward to me, i’m also a very new reader – there’s always more to learn, additional insights, new information and hidden meanings that i need to spend some time parsing through.

with that in mind, i decided to do a simple three-card spread to gain additional insight into this card, and what i might be missing.

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

seven of swords. seven-of-swords
secrecy, protection, remaining aware of surroundings, staying on guard – this card fascinates me. so many possible meanings, so many layers. this card can speak to deception, to procrastination, to avoidance, but i’ve always seen a fox under tremendous pressure, trying to remain aware of the dangers and protect herself. even in a position of rest, she’s got one eye open, a sword at the ready. she knows about the swords overhead – she’s looking forward, staying aware of any new dangers she hasn’t seen yet.

i see a lot in this card, particularly in this position – i think i’ve been extremely afraid of this move falling apart, and haven’t wanted to completely commit to the process in case it doesn’t work out. with someone taking over our sublet, our application to a new place pending board and management approval, the owner of our new apartment also trying to get approved for her new place – it’s so many moving pieces, and i don’t want to be too disappointed if it doesn’t work out. but being so guarded and protective of myself, being so aware of all of the potentials for this to go wrong… it’s making me slow and overly cautious. i’m putting off tasks that i could easily do now, simply because it moves me closer to the end. and while protecting myself isn’t completely foolish, it’s also working against me.

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

five-of-wandsfive of wands.
scattered, unfocused, lost, confused, overwhelmed. this is absolutely the best card in the deck to describe my current frame of mind. i’m practically in a daze, can’t pay attention to details, and feel utterly exhausted. i keep missing pieces and forgetting to do things, putting things off and never coming back to them.

i’m so concerned with what might go wrong, so overwhelmed by the possibilities and making contingency plans, that i’ve completely lost sight of what it would mean to actually move. i can’t envision my goal. my limited energy is pointing in a million directions.

3. how can i release any blockages?

three of pentacles. three-of-pentacles
focus, collaborate, find discipline. the only card in the spread with any hints of color, it seems to point to both my dealing with the nine of wands as well as how i need to make this move happen at all. by harnessing my skills, leaning on the abilities of others, and working hard, i can both understand the deeper meanings of this card and also get everything on my enormous to-do list completed.

my recent cards have been pointing to focus and structure, from the fiery energy of the ace of wands to the stable, disciplined presence of the emperor. teamwork has been the key to my tarot studies, both in relying on the wisdom of more experienced readers and also getting involved in forums and speaking more with friends about what the tarot is teaching me. by continuing to harness that energy i’ll find a deeper understanding of the nine of wands, and will also be able to accomplish my goals.

overall, this was a really helpful spread. my fears of failure and my overall exhaustion are keeping me from the main message of the nine of wands – to stay calm, and to focus on one step at a time. it feels like i keep getting close to my goal only to have another setback, another complication, another delay – but if i can stay focused on each small task, rather than worrying about everything that may go wrong, and if i can lean on my husband and my friends and my family to help me get through this, this move will happen just the way it should.