Oh, it’s a bad day. A sad, bad day. I decided to pull three cards to represent the three heartbreak swords piercing my heart.
Two of Wands
Uncertainty. A new horizon lies before me, but I don’t know if it’s one I want to see. It’s not where I wanted to go, but I don’t know how many choices I have. I’m afraid I may have to go there without someone I thought was my friend. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” and I don’t want to take either. I want to lay the dirt and cry.
Page of Swords
Even though I tend to lean sword-y, I’m feeling at a loss. I don’t know what to do or what to think. What is right or what is wrong. My thoughts feel confused and underdeveloped. I want change and justice and action, but I can’t actually make any of these things happen. In this situation when I think “earth of air” for the Page of Swords I just picture dirt and grass and tree bits being hurled around by a tornado. Chaos and loss are swirling around me.
Eight of Swords
Trapped, trapped, trapped. Even when I try to use the eight swords to cut my bonds loose, I just feel like I end up shredding my own skin and somehow being more tightly bound than before. I don’t know what the trick is to untying myself.
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!
Ugh, maybe yesterday’s evening read was more a peek at what today might feel like. I’ve made a lot of personal progress is processing my traumas and living a healthier life. But boy, some days the past just jumps up and pushes me off an emotional cliff. That was today! So I won’t be doing a regular evening read today. I don’t feel like looking for the silver lining. Today I just want validation for my feelings. So I drew four cards from tarot to see how it might do that.
In this particular case, things are indeed much better in the present day. But for several years, I was treated maybe not so good.
Eight of Cups
I feel defeated and disappointed. I have worked so super hard to get to this place of goodness that I am today. But some days all of that hard work feels like I had to beg for kind treatment. And that doesn’t feel good. At all. It makes me feel lonely and sad, like that poor eagle person sitting on the mountaintop in the card.
I don’t truly have a sense of stability. Despite wishing to feel otherwise, I feel like the rug will be tugged out from under me at any moment. That if I had to beg for something, how can I count on it to stick around? I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel secure in this connection or like I am being taken care of in the same way that I give care and consideration.
Page of Swords
If the Page can be a symbol of an immature state of development within a suit or element, I feel this is what I am up against. I feel that others do not think long enough to consider how their actions and words might cut me. I may be a sword-heavy person, but I am generally acutely aware of others’ feelings and do my best to make people feel comfortable, welcome, and loved. I don’t feel that I get that in return with any degree of consistency.
Knight of Coins
I feel like this Knight in the picture. Wading knee deep through snow with a bear — that I’m not sure I can totally trust. Maybe the bear has helped me in the past, but it’s also knocked me off my feet and bared its teeth in my face. It’s abandoned me when I needed assistance and left me lying in the snow when I’ve fallen. These things are hard to forget.
An overall feeling I am seeing reflected back at me in this reading is insecurity, a lack of safety. Which in turn makes me feel angry. I put in so much time and work and I still don’t feel the same being returned. Like I said, things are actually much better than they were in the past. But like that bear in the Knight of Coins, I don’t feel sure things are all as they seem. It is an incredibly defeating feeling. Not my best day ever. Not my worst. A hard, sad day.
I’m having a craptastic afternoon, so I found a spread I’d like to try out. It’s from tarot in a teacup.
Row One: What is the root cause of my anger?
The High Priestess, The Star, The Sun
The High Priestess is about the subconscious. While I try to be conscious of the baggage I carry around and how it affects me, I can be dragged under when it reaches up from my subconscious and catches me unawares. The High Priestss also indicates my tendency to immediately retreat inward when I am angry. I retreat from the world, including those around me. However, I’m not exactly listening to my inner intuition or unconscious. Just fleeing. When I have retreated so far into myself, I lose clarity (The Sun) or any glimmer or sense of hope (The Star). This makes it difficult to climb out of the deep hole of anger I’ve fallen into.
The Star can also indicate my tendency to have high ideals. When they are not met, I can become angry. Both my total withdrawal (The High Priestess) and my overly high ideals (The Star) block my ability to think with clarity (The Sun), so I become trapped in anger.
Row Two: What I need to do to heal/resolve my anger issues.
Page of Swords, Page of Pentacles, The Hermit
Pages are not active (like, for instance, knights), and the Hermit speaks to conscious introspection. These cards seem to be saying, “Stop!”
The Page of Swords says, “Stop and evaluate your state of mind.” The Page of Pentacles says, “Stop and evaluate the situation that surrounds you.” The Hermit says, “Stop and look within yourself. Be honest and learn from what you see.” Just stop. Evaluate, and then choose a different way to move forward rather than staying put in such an ugly emotional/mental place.
Pages also represents earth. So they can also be saying, “Stay grounded. Don’t float away on your sea of anger. Stay here.”
Four major cards and two court cards! This may speak to this as a larger developmental / spiritual issue for me. Of course it affects my daily, more “mundane” life, but it’s something I need to tackle on my Fool’s Journey (majors) in order to make real progress on my family (court cards) aspirations.
Position One: How have I experienced love in my life?
Seer of Feathers (Page of Swords, Earth of Air)
The Page of Swords is emotionally detached and cautious, often viewing the world as an outsider observing the lives of others. She hangs on to her sword of truth, even when it does not benefit her. I have experienced love as a dangerous, conditional, and unreliable thing which leaves me cautious of getting close to others. My “sword of truth” about love is that I am replaceable and if I allow myself to put my walls down and connect with someone they will hurt me deeply. I don’t like believing that, but if I’m being perfectly honest with myself it is a belief a hold.
Position Two: What has come from it?
Seer of Fossils (Page of Pentacles, Earth of Earth)
From this experience, I believe the result would be how Paul Quinn describes the shadow of the Page of Pentacles in Tarot for Life: “Pursuing purely practical avenues to the exclusion of emotional or spiritual needs” (274). Many of my life’s decisions have been based on what I “ought” to do as the most practical thing rather than what might be best for my whole elemental self. For example, during one particular session, my therapist asked me what I wanted. I didn’t even really understand the question because that never factored into my life choices. Having not experienced nurturance of my own inner self by those who raised me, I failed to nurture my inner self as well.
Position Three: What do I desire?
Nine of Fossils (Pentacles)
I desire the happy satisfaction that will hopefully come when I have arrived in a more safe and comfortable place with love. I desire the satisfaction of calmly and confidently existing in my family of choice and knowing that all of my hard work I put into relearning what love is was worth it.
Position Four: What holds me back?
Ace of Branches (Wands)
I have the desire to change, but it can be difficult to keep that Ace of Wands burning when it is regularly doused with water (emotion, fear).
Position Five: What does love ask of me?
Ace of Shells (Cups)
Love asks that I plant a new seed of emotional truth. I have a flourishing bushel of fear when it comes to love, but I should tend to a new seed that needs care and nourishment. One that perhaps is based in intuition, trust, and love itself.
Position Six: What can love give me?
Seven of Shells (Cups)
Love can give me the fuel I need to imagine accepting that unconditional love is real and that it is being offered to me. The Seven of Cups can often indicate daydreams divorced from reality, but in this instance I don’t think that is true. In this instance, I need to accept that this dream is real. I just need to shake off my fear and embrace it.
Tomorrow is the big fall party! (Actually today, I suppose it is already after midnight!) We have a full day planned, which should be fun. At the same time, I can also easily be overwhelmed. Because of this, I wanted to do a two card spread tonight to ground myself and to remind myself that I have power over my thought patterns and reactions.
Since I’m visiting family, I wasn’t able to bring my books with me. Just two decks and their little white books. So we’ll see what I can figure out! 🙂
Position One: What should I keep in mind tomorrow?
Page of Swords
Pages are earth and swords are air. So physical world and thoughts. The two little white books take almost opposite views of this card, but that could be the light and shadow. The shadow is prideful, overly cool in communications, and has a disregard for the thoughts of others. The light is of an intelligent woman who speaks her mind but uses her intelligence to be kind and playful in her honesty.
So perhaps I should keep in mind: “Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, but do remember to temper your sharp tongue and to be more playful in your interactions.”
Position Two: What can I learn tomorrow?
The World represents integration, wholeness, happiness, and celebration. An integration in one’s inner world and between oneself and the universe. Home.
So perhaps I can learn to not only accept but to celebrate the feeling of home with the people I love. Give over to that delightful wholeness.
On a whim, I decided to draw one more card and ask, “What might I expect tomorrow?” Tarot’s answer was the Ten of Pentacles. One of the little white books focuses on the success of a project. The other defines wealth in being surrounded by loving people. So perhaps I can expect a successful party and the warmth of unconditional love.