finding resources

i’ve been hesitant to return to tarot for the past few days, after drawing such strong, intense, dramatic cards on my last reading. i’m still not sure what steps forward to take, what kind of transformation i should be seeking, but i’m continuing to ponder these lessons, and have reached out to a much-admired reader for a personal reading to offer more clarification. in the meantime, i don’t want to stay too separated from my cards. i don’t want to withdraw into fear, or refuse to listen, or ignore what other wisdom my deck has for me.

with that in mind, i was pretty tentative in my drawing today, and received a lovely and welcome gift: the mother of pentacles.mother-of-pentacles

calm and strong, alert and aware, kind and supportive, this mother is nurturing, loving, compassionate, practical, resourceful, and confident. she knows who she is, what she’s capable of, and how she fits into her world. her child rests against her, completely at peace, and while she’s watchful of any danger, she does not look afraid – she is simply doing her job, caring for her family, and ready to tackle any issue that arises.

while i find all of the mothers particularly strong and admire each of them in different ways, there’s something so empowering about this queen of the earth. she knows that she has rich resources and powerful tools at her disposal, and is so deeply connected to the world around her. there’s no doubt, no stumbling, no indecision – she can handle anything that comes her way, and can care for those around her as well as her own personal needs.

i find this card both encouraging and challenging today. i have reached out for additional help in seeking my next steps, both by continuing to see a therapist that i really trust, and by looking for answers and insight from a more experienced tarot reader. i’m trying to rely more on my friends and family, being open with my fears and struggles rather than pretending everything is fine. but i can always do more, both for myself and for those around me. my partner is struggling deeply with his work, my friends need support, my family deserves the truth about some difficult issues – and i do have the strength and the resources to help, even if i can’t always see it. i can be better, stronger, more resilient. i can care for those around me in a more honest, compassionate, practical way, while still finding ways to care for myself.

death (of the ego)

it’s been a difficult few days, and i’ve missed my morning readings. i hoped to find some clarity and calm, but instead have pulled some major, serious cards that will require a lot of processing. my card for today is death.

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rather than using more traditional imagery like the grim reaper cloaked and waiting, the wild unknown uses simple remains of a small bird. we see the literal decay, the end of life, and the change from what was a living creature into something completely different. death doesn’t have to be literal in tarot – rather, it can be a phoenix rising from the ashes, becoming reborn, changing and altering into a new being. something in my life needs to come to an end, to make way for a new chapter.

this could be a difficult card, and it’s not one i was expecting to see this morning, but there’s something so simple and final and real in this card. there’s no fighting it, no postponing it, no ignoring it – death just is. there’s a sense of letting go, of beautiful surrender, that’s unavoidable. and while i’m not completely sure what ending i should be seeking, it’s clear that i can’t pretend it’s not necessary.

hoping for clarity, i instead pulled another huge card: the devil. i’ve worked with this IMG_0367wicked one before, but as a clarifying secondary card, i think his meaning can change. i would love to read this combination as surrendering negativity and temptation, that it’s time for me to let go of the bad stuff to make way for the good, but i have a feeling that the cards are saying more than that. is my depression a crutch? do i cling to it in order to avoid dealing with my issues? have i been letting myself drown in pain and sorrow because it’s easier than seeking a solution? are there toxic people or things in my life that i’m ignoring? or is it me that’s toxic?

in researching this pairing of death and the devil, the same phrase kept emerging: the death of the ego. rather than some impending tragedy or sudden shift, death is a natural but unavoidable reality. but in tarot, death can be a choice. i can change elements of who i am, can choose to be different, can let go of my specific perception of myself and instead seek to discover who i truly am. but the devil can show fear, the temptation to run, and represents those negative patterns that we can’t escape. fear is such a strong motivator, and can be a huge barrier to change. and i have such strong, miserable patterns that i cling to, whether i want to or not.

these are big cards, strong energies, and it’s a lot to take in. but the cards are not holding back here, which means i need to be brave enough to listen to what they have to say.

 

time to soar

i had a few moments this morning before i have to head off to work, and thought i’d pull a quick card for some advice for the day. naturally, rather than something familiar and lovely like the six of cups or the two of wands, i pulled a new card from the major IMG_0372arcana: judgement. and this requires a bit more unpacking, but it was definitely worth the effort today.

a strong, brilliantly white bird soars high above, rays of black and white energy streaming from her wings. below, bats or dark birds seem to follow, straining behind her. they grow into a tangle as we get lower on the card, until they are completely indistinguishable from the darkness below.

judgement is a strong word, and as someone from a very religious, fire-and-brimstone style background, my first instinct was fear. but the main word that the wild unknown uses for this card is forgiveness, which completely changes my feelings on this card. suddenly i see the bird not being consumed by the darkness below, but rather rising above it. perhaps instead of the bats coming up to consume her, they’re inspired by her brightness and following in her footsteps.

there’s so much to consider in this beautiful card (and i absolutely adore beth’s take on judgement on her blog), but i love the idea of letting go, of seeking truth, of not only forgiving those in our lives that can drag us down but also of forgiving ourselves. i blame myself for so much, carry so much guilt with me through my days, and seem to dwell on every terrible thing i’ve ever done. i am also absolutely one of those people that is still embarrassed about silly, thoughtless things i’ve said or done years and years ago, that probably no one else remembers but me.

this card is so close to the end of the major arcana, with only the world left in the cycle, and is an incredible symbol of how release and forgiveness is very necessary for completion and happiness. i can choose to soar into that light, to release everything unkind and stressful and judgmental. maybe it’s time.

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.

choosing to pause

today’s card is one of my favorites, and a welcome friend in this moment: the hermit.

IMG_0361solitary, wise, strong, careful, and extremely aware of personal needs and challenges, the hermit doesn’t do anything without thinking it through. he cherishes stillness, embraces reflection, and thrives in the quiet moments. he will not be rushed, and does not push himself to simply get things done – rather, he knows when it’s essential to be thoughtful and considerate. he knows that things worth doing are worth doing well.

this card encourages us to be still, to breathe, to mediate. there’s a lovely sense of time and space here, a deep awareness of the need to be quiet and simply listen. there’s so much happening in the world and in our country and in our day-to-day lives, and so little time set aside for honest reflection. and without those quiet moments between all the loud conversations and dizzying adventures and hard choices and everyday stresses, how do we keep hold of ourselves?

i’ve written so much about my depression in this space, and my cards recently have been pushing me to act, to seize opportunities, to find new adventures and exciting beginnings and fresh starts. and i have pushed back mentally, saying to myself, not yet. i’m not totally in the clear. i’m not safe yet. the fog is still surrounding me, though i sense it’s starting to clear. but cards like the hermit, and the seven of wands, and the empress – they give me permission to stand alone for a bit, to be myself, to find a way to bring a bit of light into that darkness. there’s beauty in a pause, in a breath, in choosing to examine what matters. and i’m not afraid of stillness, not when it’s a choice instead of a trap.

breathe deep

i’ve been pulling a lot of positive cards lately – ones that encourage me to look forward to what’s ahead, to seek hope and adventure, to start something new and embrace my own power through it. and it’s been lovely to feel so much strength and energy flowing through these cards – but it’s been a bit overwhelming too. today’s card, the seven of cups, seems to reflect and understand that perfectly. IMG_0338

i’ve written about this card before, and while it’s not always the most welcome sight in a
daily reading, it can also be a bit of a relief to have feelings acknowledged. this card flips everything on its head, and we don’t know which way is up, what time or place or day it is, or even how to move forward. it takes things we thought we were sure of and makes us question them. it can be an indication to stop, look around, take a breath, reassess. things are not what they seem, confusion is afoot, something is amiss.

i’ve been procrastinating, unsure, feeling simultaneously afraid to start and oh-so-tired of being stagnant. depression, especially when it lingers, is like slogging through mud, like wandering through fog, and it makes everything feel slow and heavy and exhausting. and as i attempt to stand up and stumble out of this darkness, to find my way back to who i know i can be, it’s hard to know how to get back into real life again.

the-empressin an effort to seek guidance, i pulled a second card for clarification, and got some serious female power: the empress. she’s beautiful and bold, a colorful beacon in the darkness. this strong tree is constantly evolving with the seasons, and her brilliant shades of pink and purple speak of spring, of the growth and life that come after a long period of cold darkness. she is warm, gentle, compassionate, and strong.

both of these cards are set at night, but reveal very different truths. while the seven reflects the confusion that darkness can bring, the confusing emotions and conflicting directions, the empress is solid and grounded, confident in her light and her strength. the darkness only serves to illuminate her, causing that which is insignificant to fade into the background.

and while it’s okay to be unsure sometimes, to feel hesitant or weak or confused about the next step, the empress reminds me that there can be power in the darkness. finding that inner light is not always easy, but that doesn’t mean that it has faded away.

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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.

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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.