I’m doing the next reading in the Alternative Tarot Course. This is the Four Elements Spread 🙂
Position One: Center, My Situation at the Moment
Nine of Feathers (Nine of Swords)
This card can represent guilt, despondency, depression, self-pity, grief, or anxiety. My main books take two different views of this. One says that the Nine of Swords is a shadow of the Hermit: introspection gone too far. We are torturing ourselves with our thoughts. The other book says that this card represents situations that are largely out of our control.
I don’t read reversals and don’t plan to. I like to look at each card and take the light and the shadow into consideration based on the situation the reading speaks to. So my current situation as described by the Nine of Feathers is a shedding of this great anxiety and depression that I have been enveloped in for the last couple of weeks.
The booklet that accompanies the Animal Wisdom Tarot supports this idea. There is a very positive spin on this card. The crow helps us to find our inner light and to integrate the disparate parts of ourselves. The Nine of Feathers can speak to awakening and awareness.
I have been depressed and un-confident, but the last couple of days I have really been pulling it together. The commucation about the event that set off my trigger was extremely productive. I had been tortured both by my own mind and by the actions of another person, but this communication has been a healthy way to share awareness of where each of us is coming from. I’m waking from my depression and waking from some of the persistent negative thoughts that have been haunting me.
Position Two: Bottom, Earth of the Situation
Seeker of Shells (Knight of Cups)
Knights represent air, and shells are water. This card can indicate spirituality, romance, dreams, self-sacrifice, serving others, forgiveness, charm, and sensitivity. This knight is altruistic and romantic, but her feelings are easily hurt.
A shadow for this knight could be discouragement, disillusionment, being not in touch with reality, or failing to express our feelings with another person.
I admit I struggle with the earth element because I so often live in my head, but I’m going to give this a go. So what might this air and water card have to do with my earth experience? This weekend is our fall party, and this celebration with food and decorations and movies is happening because I finally shared my feelings with BB, was able to get out of my head, make/repair/deepen an emotional connection, and let go of my sadness and anger. This mind/emotion work was necessary in order for this party to be able to happen successfully. I’m really looking forward to it 🙂
Additionally, now that this issue is resolved, I have fewer headaches and tummy aches and have been able to enjoy watching the World Series, going for walks, and cleaning my home. My physical world has been returned to me since my mental/emotional troubles have been resolved.
Position Three: Left, Water of My Situation
Seer of Shells (Page of Cups)
Pages represent earth, and shells are water. This card can indicate dreams, sensitivity, tenderheartedness, immaturity, emotion, trust, goodness, loyalty, and imaginativeness. She is curious and enjoys discovering things in her unconscious. She is trusting and can go with the flow.
A shadow could be an inability to see when others are taking advantage of her since she is so trusting. Because of this, the shadow could be fear of connecting with people for worries about being hurt. In this way, she warns us to be careful of who we trust.
This card could relate to my water element in this situation by reminding me that even though I have trouble trusting people (shadow side of the card), I am beginning to do better at trusting in the goodness of others and not retreating so far when a relationship issue arises. And since this card is a combination of earth and water, it can show that I am approaching my emotions and emotional connection with others in a more grounded way.
Position Four: Top, Air of My Situation
Two of Feathers (Two of Swords)
This card can represent a difficult decision and/or polarities like good and bad, light and dark. In the traditional RWS card, a woman sits blindfolded holding two swords crossed. Her blindfold can represent either an unwillingness to see the truth or a retreat into her inner being to seek truth.
This card can also represent holding two seemingly opposing ideas at the same time or seeking a compromise between two things. It can be a reminder to listen to “both sides of the story,” so to speak.
The shadow of this card could be indecision or procrastination in making a decision. Doubting one’s ability to make a good decision. It could also represent having to choose between two bad options or a stalemate.
This could represent the fact that it has not been an easy decision to let go of the hurt I felt and to move forward in solidarity and connection. I feel I made the right decision, but it wasn’t an easy one given the emotional trauma I have suffered. In this case, I went with mind over emotion, which my emotions will eventually benefit from since I am choosing love and connection over artificial safety and loneliness. This is also the holding of contradictory ideas at the same time: I am afraid and I choose connection anyway.
Position Five: Right, Fire of My Situation
Seeker of Feathers (Knight of Swords)
Knights symbolize air, as do feathers.
This card has very clear light and shadow. She can be idealistic, rational, and intelligent. She will fiercely defend those who need defending. The Knight of Swords can also serve to stir us to action if we are being too timid or lacking commitment.
However, she can also be vengeful, argumentative, domineering, self-righteous, and aggressive. She may remind us to listen before acting.
Rather than allowing my thoughts to be filtered through fear and other negative emotions, I have taken a more rational approach with personal growth and interpersonal connection in mind. I am determined (fire) to create positive change in my life, and tarot has been an invaluable tool so far by helping me to both stand up and defend myself and by stopping to acknowledge the experience and feelings of others. And I am genuinely excited about where my life is going, particularly in my new approach to relationships.
This spread contained three swords and two knights. Very air heavy. While the last two weeks were painful, I have been able to wield my mind in a much more healthy and productive way than usual. Rather than obsessing and engaging in negative self-talk, I have been more rational and chosen a path that will, in the long run, lead to a happier me and a deeper connection with my loved ones. There will be difficult decisions along the way (Two of Feathers), and sometimes I will despair (Nine of Feathers), but I am actively working (Seeker of Feathers, Seeker of Shells) toward a life defined more by trust and ease (Page of Shells).