Oh goodness. It’s been real dark and gloomy over here in my head. I’ve let myself fall off the wagon of daily routines which help me keep my sanity. Like tarot! I even missed my Monday Meditation this week. Not good!
So I pulled out the deck I’m getting to know this month (Golden Tarot) and asked “How can I get back on the wagon?” I know this won’t make things better or sweep away the gloom, but I just need to get up and get back to my daily things: tarot, exercise, cooking. Things like that. Without those I’m kind of a sad lump.
Page of Cups, Queen of Swords, Two of Cups
Child-like wonder, self-discipline, self-love.
Nice and clear today!
When I’m doing them, I really enjoy daily tarot practice, cooking, and general self-care. Think about it as fun, because it is! Don’t mope around. Say, “Donkey, get up! Go do a spread, go try a new recipe, go for a walk!” And then do it. And remember I’m worth this fun and this care. These are good things and enjoyable things I’ve let slip from my daily routine.
Well, maybe not let exactly. Depression is tricky like that. But I’ve fallen into a rut, I’m recognizing it, and it’s time to crawl out. And it’s okay to start small as long as I’m starting.
I laid this spread out the night of the new moon, but I’m a couple of days late sitting down and interpreting it in detail. I found this spread at Little Red Tarot, and I pulled the shadow card as well.
Position One: Where I stand
Things are certainly changing all around me. I wasn’t surprised or taken aback at all to see this card in this position. Job, home, town, certain relationships. So much change at once! But really most of it is good. Old things are falling down as new things sprout forth. But it does feel turbulent just because it’s so much at once!
Position Two: Something to leave behind
Four of Swords
I’ve been a bit frozen as I watch the Tower crumble. Again, mostly good things, but it’s BIG and a bit overwhelming. I haven’t been accomplishing much lately, including things I value very much (like keeping up with practicing tarot daily!) because I’m like a deer in the headlights. Some of these changes will take a while to take full effect. Sitting here frozen isn’t going to help the process along or make it go faster. Carrying on won’t either, but at least I’ll be doing things I enjoy! Time to get off my tush. I do have a life to live between now and when the full effect of these changes happens. I can’t just sit and watch the world go by for the next few months. How sad would that be!
Position Three: Something to receive
Ace of Pentacles
An absolute abundance of opportunity! Smile and welcome it 🙂
Position Four: Something to learn
Two of Pentacles
Balance. Thanks Two of Pentacles. Like I didn’t know that. I’m always sassy to this card when it shows up. It’s so darn practical and obvious. But that doesn’t make it any less true! Balance these huge, slower moving changes with my day-to-day life stuff.
Position Five: Something to give
Ace of Swords
I’m a smart lady. I need to be sharp and give my knowledge and thoughts during these super big changes. It’s really important to be on my toes and active in these large decisions. This next month is not a time for brain relaxation.
Position Six: My hopes and dreams
A home to call my own! Mr. Donkey and I are planning our own little cave. Our own get-away from the world. A safe and cozy and family-oriented space to thrive and grow.
Position Seven: My secret special skill
King of Swords
I don’t do bullshit. And like I said earlier, now is a time to be on top of things. Don’t let anyone pull the wool over my eyes. Don’t get tricked. Stay sharp, speak up, and be a commanding presence.
Page of Cups
My emotional bits are still bruised and sore. There will for sure be some incredibly difficult emotional moments and stretches during these changes. It’s just the way it is. It will happen, and it’s better to acknowledge that than to pretend otherwise and be knocked flat when it happens. There will be really bad days. But hopefully there won’t be many of them.
At this full moon, I decided to try a spread from New Age Hipster. I used the Animal Totem Tarot and the Mirrors of the Heart oracle deck.
Position One: What’s going on in my life right now
King of Cups, Gentleness
The King of Cups has great control over the watery element of emotions. I am barely hanging on to control, but I suppose the key is that I haven’t let my emotions overtake me. There are many changes happening right now in my life. My business plans are moving along, Mr. Donkey just got a new job, we’ll be moving, and I’m having trouble with a particular relationship. While most of these are good things, I still don’t handle change super well. So it’s good that I’m still tenuously in control of my emotions. I have to be gentle with myself when I stumble and gentle with myself by allowing myself to feel some of the intense emotions that are headed my way. They aren’t inherently bad. Just observe, feel, and don’t lose control.
Position Two: What to release, it no longer serves me
The Hermit, Movement
At first these cards seems to be contradictory. But in the position, perhaps I need to let go of the expectation that others will go within themselves, reflect on certain issues, and take action based on their introspection. As much as I would love this, I certainly can’t make it happen. And if I expect it I’ll be disappointed quite regularly. It’s a hard thing to release, though, because I just don’t think it’s asking a lot for people to think before they act when their actions are potentially harmful or damaging. Having this expectation brings a lot of pain.
Position Three: Lessons
Page of Cups, Awakening
I’m not even sure yet. I feel like I’m in the middle of many lessons right now, but I’ve not yet quite “learned” them. Time will tell. Pages are the youngest and least developed of the court cards, and the Awakening card depicts little fetuses in the earth. I’m still in the beginning stages of many lessons during this crazy transitional time in my life. So who knows? Like the seal, I just need to go with the flow and have as much fun as I can along the way.
Position Four: Blessings
Two of Wands, Peace
It’s been a blessing to start taking some big steps in my business plans. I’m finalizing a logo at the moment, and when we move I’ll be creating a brand new work space. I have many choices ahead, and being able to create these plans is a blessing in itself. I’m much more at peace beginning this work than have been at other work. This work will allow me to care for myself and to create a peaceful environment in ways I could not with a more “traditional” job. A privilege and a blessing indeed.
Position Five: What my heart wants
Nine of Pentacles, Sanctuary
Sanctuary! It’s been a really rough go for a while. My soul aches some days. I wish for peace and contentedness. A nice slow pace of life and quiet place to seek peace. I want sanctuary from heartache. But I don’t want to isolate myself.
Position Six: Big step to take to reach my dream
Ten of Cups, Voice
Speak up in my family of choice. If I show up without my voice, I’ll never feel like myself — which means I’ll never feel like I really belong. Show up, speak up.
Position Seven: What to focus on next
Two of Pentacles, Stillness
One thing at a time without overburdening myself or over- or under-focusing on any one area. Make small goals, all the while maintaining an inner sense of quiet stillness. One day that might be to pack several boxes. Another day that could be to revise my code of ethics, to walk in nature, or to read and journal. Focus is needed during this time, but I need to focus on only focusing on one thing at a time. Focus on not getting overwhelmed.
I can see the light! My heart aches much less today. Someone has helped to begin the healing process.
I decided to do a tarot spread to celebrate and process this breakthrough, and I’m calling it the Sunrise.
Position One: What has come to light
Page of Cups
A fresh emotional perspective. A new beginning. Earth of water: a grounded perspective on emotions. Everything is out on the table, and a new journey together is beginning.
Position Two: What to remember about myself
At heart I am a loving nurturer. This doesn’t mean that I have to tolerate being treated badly, but on this new journey I can really thrive and lend my knowledge and skills to the process of growing and renewing. I feel much happier in this role rather than feeling sad and defeated. I can shine now that the sun has risen with the Page of Cups.
I love that this depiction of the Empress has a bird’s nest in her hair. I watched an amazing show on PBS about bird nests and how incredibly intricate they are — truly skilled pieces of construction. Nurturing is not easy work. It is hard work that takes time, dedication, and great skill. I want to build this new nest for a fresh start.
Position Three: What to remember about the other person
King of Cups
They are emotionally invested, but they are working on mastering expression of emotion in healthy ways. Things should be different now, but if they stumble I should remember that they are as emotionally invested as I am. If this happens, I can be firm but loving to direct them back on track.
Position Four: What is possible
Six of Pentacles
A respectful and fair balance. A mutually beneficial give and take. I particularly love the Animal Wisdom Tarot’s description of this card as relating to community and providing for everyone and taking only what one needs. Loving, caring community is possible.
On a side note, this seems to be the card stalking me at the moment.
Position Five: What is the earth/foundation we are standing on
Eight of Swords
The previous foundation was a lack of productive communication. Two minds out of sync, trapped in isolation from each other. Through some intense honesty, the blindfolds have been removed and the new foundation is one of shared knowledge and goals, and mutual understanding. The previous foundation was a recipe for disaster. Now that the foundation has been repaired, hopefully we can build a lovely (and loving) house.
My sweetheart got me the gorgeous Prisma Visions tarot deck for Christmas! I love it, and it is so beautiful!
Wow, it’s been weird not being able to work daily with tarot during this busy holiday season. It’s also been a kind of rough go emotionally. We’ve had good times, but I’ve had a particular situation / relationship on my mind which is really upsetting. So tonight I’ll do a reading to both validate my feelings and to seek advice on taking care of myself.
My interpretation might be short because I’m sleepy, but I really wanted to do a reading tonight.
Row One: How I am feeling
King of Wands
I know what I want, but unlike the king, making this happen is not in my power. It is not in my power to create the change that would set my heart at ease.
Ace of Chalices
A whole well of feelings that I’ve just recently been able to articulate / name. It’s not positive though. It’s intense and sad. So rather than a seed of possibility, it feels condensed and concentrated.
Nine of Swords
I feel frozen by sadness. I feel out of options and tired of trying. I have trouble seeing how to get out of this particular scenario in any positive way. I feel bleak and gobbled up. I do not think that this is my depression. I am just intensely sad about this situation right now.
Row Two: How I can take care of myself
Page of Chalices
Be aware of my emotions, don’t judge them, and share them as needed.
Ace of Wands
Create things, even though I’m sad. Occupy my mind with sewing, tarot, business research, setting up a new workout routine. I may be super sad right now, but I can still keep busy.
Knight of Wands
I’m feeling really torn in two directions right now, and I can take care of myself by not choosing to act in a particular direction. Rather than rushing forward or spinning myself in circles, I can stop expecting myself to know what to do and what direction to go. I should just live with this contradiction at the moment. Time may help me move forward, but right now that is not productive.
I’m feeling a bit icky right now, but I know this is about me. Since I recognize this feeling as about me and not this person, I decided to do a reading to remind myself of some of the things I love and/or admire about them. I pulled three cards to see what they might say.
Page of Cups
I admire their childlike personality. I try to let go and emulate this personality trait more often. Also, this person is more emotional than they let on, and being aware of this emotional quality make it easier to interact with them since I know there is more to this person than meets the eye.
Five of Wands
When their childlike outlook on life comes out more negatively as immaturity, usually through ignorance, I can be easily hurt. When conflict between us arises, this person steps up and buckles down with me to resolve the situation. They are attentive and compassionate. They are very good at listening to and hearing what I am saying when I am upset and owning their piece of the conflict.
At first glance, this card doesn’t seem to relate to this person. But when I thought about it for a bit, I think this person can be very nurturing. I can see this in the way they interact with certain people. Because this person doesn’t wear their emotions on their sleeve, this is not an openly advertised trait, but I see it and I admire it.
A false reality of sorts. The abuse I experienced was real, but I expect it to continue even though I’m in a completely new environment with completely different people. My subconscious has had me trapped in a not-nice dream world where I feared constantly. I still do fear, but I am aware now that it’s a bad dream.
Position Two: Where am I stepping to?
Penguin, Seer of Shells (Page of Cups)
A world of my creating. While sensitive (which I definitely am!), the Page of Cups is also creative and intuitive. By toning down my fears, I am able to tune in to my creativity and intuition. I am stepping into a wonderful world that’s actually been here all along, but I’m seeing it with new eyes.
Position Three: What do I hold for myself?
Deer, Seven of Fossils (Seven of Pentacles)
I have learned to hold patience for myself. This allows me to take joy in the process of creation. For example, rather than harrumphing and saying, “Why can’t I just know all these tarot cards yet??”, I am truly enjoying reading each word as I learn about the cards, examining each version of each card, and practicing readings. I delight when I make a breakthrough and feel like I’m really beginning to understand a particular card. I’ve planted my seeds, and I’m taking pleasure in watching them grow and produce fruit.
Position Four: What do I give others?
Vulture, Ten of Feathers (Ten of Swords)
The Animal Wisdom Tarot emphasizes this card as one of transformation, rebirth, and rising above. In this card, the Vulture is the focus, not the poor dead creature on the ground. As much as I write about my insecurities, I think I am actually quite confident in areas that others are not. So while I can use all the help and support I can get for my own fears, I also have a lot to offer others. Animal Wisdom Tarot says, “Vulture rides thermals to soar high and see far, encouraging us to rise above collective opinion and test larger views” (91). I can help provide new perspectives and outlooks.
Position Five: What new thing awaits me?
Swan, Angel of Alchemy (Temperance)
This is the first time Temperance has come up in a reading for me, and I think it is just delightful in this position! Balance. An acceptance of the contradictions I hold within myself. An acceptance of myself as enough as I am. Loving myself!!
Rachel Pollack in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom says it perfectly: “The card implies that whatever has been built up (including relationships between people) has reached a point where it can grow by itself, and the person can step back from it without it collapsing” (246). Yes! For me, it is definitely the relationships. When I can exist so comfortably in a relationship with someone that I’m not constantly doing “work” or feeling self conscious, it is indeed magic.
Position Two: How does magic act in my life?
Queen of Wands
Queens are water, and wands are fire. I would say that magic acts a bit like both of these seemingly contradictory elements. It can act quickly and unexpectedly like fire, but it can also act smoothly and soothingly like water. The Queen of Wands is also considered attractive, and this magic in my life shows me very attractive ways of being in or seeing the world.
Position Three: Where do I look for it?
Four of Wands
I absolutely look for magic in the loving bosom of a stable home. While the number four denotes structure, fire (wands) cannot be easily contained. So this can speak of an expansive, joyous stability. The “warm fuzzies” of stability. This lack of constraint can be seen in the Animism Tarot’s depiction of the Four of Wands as two joyous hummingbirds. While they make their home in the (stable, wand-like) branches, they also fly through the air and feel the warm glow of the sun on their wings.
Position Four: How do I find it?
Page of Cups
This card represents contemplation and imagination, a newly emerging consciousness. She notices synchronicities and feels intuitively. This page is not bogged down by the pressure to make decisions or organize her desires. She happily ponders. Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life provides this Mark Twain quote to open the discussion of the Page of Cups: “One learns through the heart, not the eyes or the intellect” (199). I can find magic by quietly and contentedly watching what emerges from my subconscious. Don’t judge or feel the need to take immediate action. Allow this magic to manifest itself without accidentally squashing it or altering its course. Like the happy otter in the Animism Tarot swimming alongside the flower watching and enjoying its magic.
Position Five: How do I use it?
Five of Cups
At first I wasn’t sure what to make of this card in this position, but I think it’s actually a very cool card here. It offers a realistic view of using magic in my own life. I have absolutely suffered loss and grief. And that will surface from time to time, but in the traditional RWS depiction, two cups remain upright. My life isn’t over or all sorrow. There is hope and goodness. I can grieve when I need to, but when I don’t I can use the “magic” in my life to turn around and take joy in the two full cups. My life can be full and beautiful even if some of my “cups” have been spilled, and if I use the magic in my life to good ends I can have that full and beautiful life.
I think the Animism Tarot depiction is wonderful for this. The Marbled Salamander sits in his cave. “Rain falls softly as he finds solace in the shadows. He mourns for his losses, and there have been many. But as the rain starts to fade, the sun slowly rises.” The sun after a storm is quite magical, just as joy after great sorrow is.
The elements that showed up are the cups, wands, and pentacles. It feels like tarot might be saying, “You may have assigned The Magician the element of air, but if you want to emulate her, you’d better make sure you’re including these other elements.” Additionally, they were all Minor Arcana cards, which could serve as a reminder that I need to remember the grounded, earthly, downward facing arm of The Magician rather than getting stuck in the clouds. Her power is in manifesting her magic in the world around us. Not in thinking about or seeing the spiritual alone.
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).