As I’ve talked about many times before, I identify strongly with the Nine of Wands and its defensive meaning. Tonight I decided to draw nine cards to represent the nine wands of my little defensive fortress. I don’t have any particular question in mind. I just thought I’d practice trying to see the spread as a whole. Baby steps. And I’m not in the mood tonight to look on the bright side or to think of how I can respond positively in this current situation. I’m holed up in my fortress, and that’s the way it is right now. Maybe these nine card can give me some insight or validation about my little fortress or how I end up here.
Well, the first thing I noticed is the three fives. Struggle, conflict, and pain. The Two of Swords speaks to a difficult choice. The Eight of Cups is leaving something behind, while the Devil is being trapped. The Page of Swords is rational and assertive, but may be too quick to judge. The Knight of Cups is dreamy and romantic, and the Ten of Pentacles is about abundance and family. So, putting these all together …
Three of the cards that jump out as part of the same narrative to me are the Devil, the Two of Swords, and the Eight of Cups. A difficult decision is being pondered behind these fortress walls: Do I abandon something I’ve worked very hard at? And am I at risk for some kind of imprisonment either way? If I walk away, am I trapped by my own inability to stick it out, resulting in a Five of Pentacles (hurt) and/or Five of Swords (hollow “victory”) situation? Or if I stay, am I trapped by my emotional intensity (Knight of Cups) in being too invested in something I don’t get emotional returns on?
Part of me wants to Five of Wands the situation. Open up my gates and come out swinging. Sharing some characteristics with the Page of Swords, I could be effective at that particular approach, but is that the approach I want to take? And will that lead me to the abundance of life of the Ten of Pentacles?
The cards certainly reflect the conflict waging within myself and in my outer world. Not only conflict, though, but intense confusion and mixed emotions. The Knight of Cups and the Page of Swords don’t seem to see eye to eye about how to do things, and they’re both certainly fighting within me. I also, against my better judgment, hold out a wee bit of hope for wholeness and happiness (Ten of Pentacles). Do I stay, do I go? Do I love, do I fight? I do recognize that these things are not necessarily either/or. They’re still very uncomfortable to mix and balance. Too much of one and I damage myself. Too much of another, and I do unnecessary harm to someone else. What a mess!
I’m not sure how “well” I did at interpreting this, but this seems to have helped me to articulate some of my conflicting emotions about this situation. So I’ll call it a success! These cards all did really hit home, and when I put them in direct conversation with each other the conflict and confusion really seemed apparent to me.
And I’m certainly open to any help or suggestions as I awkwardly wiggle into the stage of trying to see the spread as a whole 🙂
Still feeling all ruffled and weird inside. Better than before, yes, but scared and vulnerable too. So I decided to try another spread from Barbara Moore’s Tarot Spreads. I settled on the “True Magic” spread to help reframe this issue in a way that can make me think outside the box. Think “magically,” if you will! I’m feeling at a loss for quite what to do and, like I said, feeling quite vulnerable. So as has become my norm, I am seeking some perspective from tarot 🙂
Position One: The magic I have, whether I realize it or not
Page of Swords
An enthusiastic curiosity and willingness to tackle any obstacle I find worthwhile. And I find this current obstacle incredibly worthwhile. I think that is part of what makes it so painful. It is so important to me, but the path is made of quicksand. I have to tread carefully. In some situations I’m totally at peace with taking things slowly. In this situation I am so eager to reach a better place I feel antsy and confused and unsure of myself. If I reframe this feeling as enthusiasm and dedication it may make the process easier.
Position Two: The magic I need and should try to acquire
Trust in stability. Trust in the stability of family. I need the magic of a supportive safety net that I know and believe will catch me if and when I fall. I need the magic of believing in the stability of other people’s love. I am fiercely loyal to those I love, but I don’t trust that most people who love me will return the favor. I need the magic of having people in my corner.
When I first began learning about this card, I didn’t really care for it. It felt rigid and bossy and constraining. I am beginning love this card because I pine for what it can represent: safe stability.
Position Three: Who will help
Ten of Coins
Well … family! Those I look up to and long to be family with. They can help, but we come from such different backgrounds that it is tricky ground to cover together. We each have such different ideologies about how to handle these things and how to even communicate about handling these things.
And perhaps my grandmother can help too. She is still with me in spirit, so even though I can’t call her anymore, I can feel her and know what her advice would be. She and I are soul mates, and I know she would want me to see this though. She would be firm that I stick around and not run away.
Position Four: What to do
Two of Cups
Practice active loving — and that includes for myself. This is trickier than it seems in this situation. Loving myself feels like standing up for myself (which I’ve done), and loving this other person feels like forgiving and allowing for another try at this. I want to do both, and that’s where I’m a bit conflicted. Where and how do I hop back and forth between to the two? To both protect myself and to participate in the rebuilding of this relationship? I’m not sure what the answer is, but those are indeed both things I deeply desire to do.
Position Five: What not to do
Five of Swords
Do not be so prideful and stubborn that I hurt myself and those around me. On principle it is tempting to throw in the towel and say, “Look, I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.” It would be one thing if that was the healthiest and best path for myself. But I would be devastated. Being vulnerable and working together is scary and will be hard work, but it’s better than the long-term regret and sorrow that would come from removing myself entirely from the relationship. That would be a mistake.
Position Six: Outcome
I was startled when I turned this card over at first, but then I immediately thought, “Oh! A fresh start!” There has certainly been a proverbial fire, and an old way of functioning in a relationship is crumbling. So the outcome is the destruction of a damaged and unsafe way of being. I certainly hope that is utterly destroyed. I’m happy to burn that to the ground. I would love this outcome! This is best case scenario. I don’t want anything to do with the old way of things. I want positive and loving communication and respect. Not indifference and anger. Burn, baby, burn!
I feel like this reading was loud an clear about family, love, and trust. I really feel like I’m settling into a comfortable groove with tarot where my intuition can kick in, and I can really connect the cards to my life. It’s a very cool feeling, and it’s such a support! I feel more physically at ease after a reading. It gets my thoughts more settled and allows me to find very productive ways of viewing the world and approaching the things that come up in my life. Ah, I love it!
It has supported my intellectual gift. I have nurtured this side of me because it was the safest piece of myself to grow in that environment.
Position Three: How has it confined me?
I can often have a skewed or confused sense of justice. I am both acutely aware of inequality and injustice, and I struggle with whether my expectations and ideals of justice are fair or if I “rule” too harshly. I lack self confidence in decision making and my sense of true self.
Position Four: What will break it apart?
Queen of Pentacles
My gentle friend the Queen of Pentacles is back to remind me: true joy in the world around me. Surrendering to what is beautiful and joyful in this world. Accepting the love and nurturance of those who encourage this in me.
Position Five: What will emerge?
Page of Pentacles
A new me. A curious and enthusiastic woman happy to explore the world around her for no other reason than the joy of learning.
This is the first time I’ve examined the Five of Swords, and I really like Huszka’s portrayal. I have a wall built up around myself, and rather than just cowering behind it, I think I can sometimes go on the “offensive” and appear mean so that I won’t be hurt. The two women in front of the wall are not very welcoming. They stare out at the viewer in a harsh and condescending way seeming to say, “Keep moving, this place isn’t for you.” While there is a small doorway in the wall, who wants to get on their hands and knees and crawl through there under the hateful gaze of these women? These women may feel victorious in protecting whatever lies behind the wall, but at what cost?
However, a snake raises its head up from behind the wall. Snakes can symbolize rebirth, so it seems like a hopeful element in the card. I have to decide on my own to let these walls down. I can accept the help and support of my loved ones, but only I can choose to dismantle my defensive walls.
Position Two: What or who is my teacher?
Like the Hermit, Justice also asks us to look honestly at our own lives. Truth, fairness, and justice are indeed my teachers, and they encourage me to reinstate balance in my life.
Position Three: Where will I find my light?
I think I will find my light in working on a Chariot-like balance in my life. The Chariot’s sense of balance is very conscious and will-based, but I have to practice this kind of balance before I can reach a more “natural” feeling, integrated sort of balance.
Position Four: What will it reveal?
Two of Pentacles
Well, balance! There may be ups and downs, and I may waver, but it will reveal balance.
Position Five: What question does the Hermit want me to ask?
Maybe the Hermit is asking, “Where’s you inner Fool? Let’s find her!”