I haven’t done a personal reading in quite a little while, other than daily draws. I was excited about my new Baseball Tarot deck and feeling a little funky, so I sat down and made up a spread using my neat Deck of 1000 Spreads (it has lots of cards that can represent different positions, so it’s easy to go through and build a spread when I’m feeling stumped). The Baseball Tarot did not disappoint. This spread really hit home in a lot of ways, and I’ve been thinking it over for days!
Position One: The Situation
The Pitcher (The Moon)
Here the moon speaks to me of trauma, which is tricky and not straight-forward. Trauma lives deeper than the conscious mind — in the unconscious and in the bones. The situation is steeped in trauma.
Position Two: Attitudes & Thoughts
Four of Mitts: Foul (Four of Cups)
While I usually connect more strongly with a more positive-leaning interpretation of this card, today it fits well with withdrawn and isolated. I wonder if now is when “enough is enough.” I’ve begged for the outstretched cup (of the Waite-Smith depiction) for so long it’s become degrading. And it’s only now being offered once I’m past the point of feeling like I have any dignity left.
I don’t feel able to reach out and take the cup because I’m trying to cling to any sense of dignity or self-worth I may have left in this situation. I am a human being worthy of some minimal degree of respect and consideration, and I’ve been fooling myself into thinking for some time now that I’m being patient and understanding when really I’ve just pathetically been begging for the kind of treatment I’m clearly not worth to another person. It makes me feel a sort of self-loathing and patheticness to have allowed this to happen.
Position Three: Positive Influences
Three of Mitts: Triple Play (Three of Cups)
There is now a willingness on the part of the other person to cooperate and actually take an active role in this relationship. As I alluded to above, however, I fear it’s too little too late as I try to nurture the remaining shreds of self-respect I have left.
Position Four: Blocking or Covering
The Team (The Lovers)
What is blocking this positive influence is that I’ve been made to feel such an outsider from “the team” for so long while jumping and pleading to be allowed to play that I don’t know if I can join with any dignity now that it may be possible. Even if I “join,” I will always know what it took to be allowed inside — and that is nearly unbearably painful.
Position Five: Heart of the Situation
The Manager (The Hierophant)
The principle of it. I understand that the Hierophant can in some circumstances stand for rigid dogma, but I’ve done a lot of soul searching and self-questioning. At the heart of the situation is my absolutely core set of beliefs which I have reexamined many times and which remain true to me. Someone trespassed and hurt me at this deepest level of beliefs. Is this something I can move on from? Is the relationship salvageable in any meaningful way, or is carrying on a superficial relationship as good as it can be now?
Position Six: Relationship
Five of Mitts: Error (Five of Cups)
Error after error after error. I feel like I’ve been 110% invested in improving “the play,” but the other person has just not taken it seriously at all until I finally threw my hands up and left the field crying. While on the field I said over and over why this was important, but it didn’t matter. Not until I said I just can’t do it at all anymore.
The quote that starts this entry in the book for this deck says, “I cannot get rid of the hurt from losing. … But after the last out of every loss, I must accept that there’ll be a tomorrow. In fact, it’s more than that there’ll be a tomorrow. It’s that I want there to be a tomorrow. – Sparky Anderson” I want there to be a “tomorrow” for this relationship, but I don’t know whether or not I’ve suffered a career ending injury during the final, massive error.
I’ve been willing to learn from mistakes and grow and accept imperfection. But I was the only one really, really trying for a long time. And now I don’t know if I want to try anymore.
Position Seven: Advice
Three of Bases: Safe (Three of Pentacles)
In this position, I think this card offers two separate pieces of advice:
Work together as I am able at attempting to reconstruct the relationship. If I 100% withdraw, there’s no chance of the relationship healing.
As an individual, throw myself into my own crafts. Tarot, crochet, writing, cooking, cleaning. Continue to build ways to feel good about myself and to do work I’m proud of.
Position Eight: Outcome
Two of Bases: Pickoff (Two of Pentacles)
The Two of Pentacles is not one of my favorite cards because I feel like it’s such an unwelcome reality check. Every time I see it I feel like it says, “Listen, life has ups and downs. It ain’t always easy. What else do you expect?” Egh, thanks for the reminder that life sucks sometimes.
However, I do really enjoy the Baseball Tarot’s description of the card. So perhaps a possible outcome is the ability for the relationship to feel less like work and more like play, though coordination is needed either way. And whether that’s to be a real, substantive relationship or a superficial, unclose relationship remains to be seen.
While I don’t exactly feel better after this reading, I feel like many things were articulated I’ve had trouble with. This reading really affirmed what I’m feeling while also casting things in a light that helps me to make better sense of my feelings. I’m still unsure, afraid, sad, hurt, angry, and confused. But it’s been a really good examination of all of these messy emotions that have been rolling around inside of me, tangled up and yucky.
By seeing the joy that can come from another way of seeing and being in the world and being cognizant of the lack of joy that comes from this damaging set of beliefs.
Position Three: How do I free myself?
Two of Cups
By giving trust and accepting love.
Position Four: What will I discover?
Fulfillment and wholeness 🙂
Position Five: What is the first step?
Two of Swords
Stop mulling things over, stop doubting myself.
Two of Pentacles
The reading didn’t call for a shadow card, but I’ve just recently learned about this concept (the bottom card on the deck), and I thought this would be a good reading to pull it and see what it might say.
The reading was pretty straight forward, and I didn’t feel the need to write at length about the different positions, but this makes the third two in this reading. Balance, balance, balance. I’m reading you loud and clear, tarot. The Two of Pentacles reminds me that yes there will be ups and downs, but that’s no reason to quit. I don’t need to rejoin the “devil I know” when things get scary. I just need to know that things will be on the upswing soon and to hang in there. I’ll get my footing or sea legs — it just might take practice and a few tumbles.
Eight sharpened wands look like they’re coming down from the sky. A road leads to a town in the distance on a hill or mountain. A cloud “mountain” towers over the town. It feels somewhat aggressive or ominous. While there are green leaves on the sharpened wands, the landscape is all gray.
Huszka’s Eight of Wands looks quite different. A woman in a yellow dress appears to float midair while smiling. A blue person covered in stars holds one of the floating woman’s legs. A blue wolf or dog and a green, blindfolded head are behind the floating woman. Green branches seem to come out of the green head’s mouth. A small ladder sits on the foot of the blue starry person. There might be a road and some buildings in the center of the card. I have no idea what it all means! But it seems much less ominous than the Efflorescent Tarot card.
The jaguar and the black mamba snake repeat the ominous feeling, the snake more so than the jaguar. Perhaps this card could be about impending danger?
Reflection After Research
This card is about action. Maybe I would have guessed closer to this if I’d remembered to take the suit into consideration 🙂
A project or relationship may be reaching some sort of conclusion. Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot says, “Air meets Fire here” (140). Thoughts materialize into physical action. Paul Quinn’s Tarot for Life says that even though there is rapid action, it is ordered, as symbolized by the neatly spaced wands shooting in the same direction together. Unlike the Five of Wands, where they are all held by separate people and come together in chaos and conflict.
Jaguar says to think before pouncing and to trust our power while Black Mamba says it’s time to act now, no time for thinking. Both may be able to encompass the concept of decisiveness. We also need to make sure that our action is directional, like the wands in the card. If we are aimless, we may regret our action.
Today, the Eight of Wands might say to me, “You’ve been thinking about communicating your feelings to this person for some time. Now is the time to do so.”
Part of the reason I think this is what the Eight of Wands might be saying is that before drawing the Eight of Wands, I drew first The Lovers and then the Three of Cups. Since I’ve examined both of them so recently, I kept drawing until I reached a new card — the Eight of Wands.
The Lovers speak of connection, and the Three of Cups speaks to family and joy. I am still really, really struggling with what happened two weekends ago. I haven’t been sure whether to discuss this with the one particular person I am upset with or to try and process and “get over it” on my own. I’ve tried for over a week now to come to peace with it by myself, but this isn’t working. I’ve thought on my own, and I’ve thought about communicating. Maybe this impromptu reading says, “Yes, it’s time for communication. It’s time to take action. Passivity is not fixing the situation. Foster the connection, get back to joy.”
After hearing about The Alternative Tarot Course through the fox and the otter (a really lovely blog about tarot), I decided to give it a try. One of the first things I’m tackling is the “Reader’s Reading.” I actually did this twice. Once I went through the deck and chose cards for each position, and then I shuffled and let tarot do the choosing. Both ways were really fun and engaging 🙂
Position One: My Most Important Characteristic
I said Three of Cups. This is one of the few cards I’ve been able to explore so far in my tarot journey and while it isn’t quite so obvious that it might represent a part of me, when I am able to let go I can feel so connected and joyful. And this is my favorite thing about myself.
Tarot said Three of Wands. This could mean that am already taking steps to create the kind of change or outcome I want. I’m a go-getter. I don’t sit around and wait for things to happen to me or for me. If I’m unhappy with something I am already thinking of ways to make it better, and as soon as I have a plan of action I begin work.
They are both threes! Threes can represent creation, creativity, happiness, optimism, the death of something old to bring forth something new, and pleasure. The creative and happy parts of myself are what I believe my best characteristics are.
Position Two: What Strength I Already Possess As A Tarot Reader
I said Four of Cups. I almost chose the Hermit because they are both about about introspection, but from what I have read so far, the Three of Cups says more about dissatisfaction. I’m not saying dissatisfaction is a strength at face value, but as I stated above, I don’t sit around when I don’t like something. So far I am understanding this card to mean a willingness to look inward for solutions to dissatisfaction. The strength I bring to tarot is a willingness to examine my own inner self in my quest for a more connected and meaningful life.
Tarot said King of Pentacles. This one was tough for me, but the keyword that finally jumped out at me was “commitment.” The King of Pentacles did not achieve his worldly success without commitment. Similarly, I will not achieve my emotional, mental, and spiritual successes without commitment. And committed I am! The King of Pentacles takes measured, well-thought-out risks. Like this, I do not tend to jump headlong into a risky situation without weighing all risks and alternatives. Perhaps the strength I bring to tarot is my commitment to learning the practice of tarot and my thoughtful analysis which helps me to choose a realistic and measured plan of action in many situations.
Position Three: What Limits Do I Bring To My Study Of Tarot
I said Eight of Swords. It might be sort of an obvious and not terribly creative choice, but it certainly fits. When I am feeling particularly bad I lose sight of my thoughtful steps forward and feel trapped and alone. I become blind to the many resources and forms of support that can free me, even when they are in fact right next to me. This blindness would be a limit in my study of tarot, but even in the short time I have been learning tarot I can already tell it is a good tool to help me see through my blindfold.
Tarot said King of Swords. Anthony Louis in Tarot: Plain and Simple says, “You may be acting in an overly cool and intellectual manner to the exclusion of feelings and softer ways of relating to others. … You need to consider whether you are out of touch with your feelings and perhaps afraid of entering into an intimate relationship with another” (292). Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot says that the King of Swords “has a tendency to be too rigid … a man firm with friends and firm with enemies … [he] expects himself to uphold a rigid code of conduct, but he does not stop there; he also expects everyone around him to uphold the same rigid code” (208-209). Those are all 100% fair statements about myself. I have been told by more than one person on more than one occasion that I have extremely high expectation of others. These are indeed the same high expectations I hold for myself. And this is indeed rigid. This is the stubborn, unbudging part of myself as the Tarot Donkey. I expect others to put the same amount of thought and analysis into their treatment of me that I put in for my treatment of others. This is actually pretty rare. I think far more often than others. Like all traits represented in the tarot, this is a characteristic with a light side and a shadow side. This makes it hard for me to embrace the Three of Cups part of myself. Fun doesn’t usually involve analysis. Like the King of Swords I understand some situations are gray and I try to assess what would be best in each scenario. But like the King of Swords, once I have made my ruling it often solidifies to stone like the crystals on his crown. In this card, he looks over a yellow-brown landscape with rigid columns. It looks pretty lonely. But the tree might represent the softer more nurturing piece that can emerge when hard, logical analysis is not given priority in all situations.
Both of these cards were Swords. In a future post I plan to write about my strong identification with the Queen of Swords, but in a nutshell Swords can speak about loss, aggression, and warriors. After the losses I experienced in childhood I can be quite the “tough cookie.” And that is, of course, not always the best course of action.
Position Four: A Key Lesson I Can Learn From Tarot
I chose The Moon. I think a key lesson I can learn is how to be better in tune with my subconscious, to work through my darker aspects of self. As I said above, I share many not-so-wonderful characteristics in common with the King of Swords. The Moon symbolizes the deeper and more intuitive parts of the mind and how these parts influence us when they surface. Louis says, “Your gut feelings may be more reliable than logical analysis. … The Moon card asks us to reflect on our primitive origins in the animal world and in the collective unconscious” (106). There are some more negative connotations associated with The Moon, such as deceitfulness, but this card made me think about a greater awareness and synthesis between the conscious and unconscious, so that is what I am considering a possible key lesson.
Tarot said the Nine of Wands. Another eerily appropriate message from tarot! Benebell Wen tells me, “The Seeker feels like he or she is in a defensive, protective mode; like he or she has to fight to defend his or her territory. … It is worth noting that the Seeker’s protective fortress is not quite as impenetrable as the Seeker believes. Note how far apart each of the wands is set” (142). Despite the fact that I desire close and trusting relationships, particularly with my family of choice, I am very often still standing behind my (not all that effective) fortress of emotional walls. Last weekend alone is a good indicator of how weak my defenses really are. I put up a good front, but send a strong wind my way and down I go. A key lesson I can learn from tarot could be how to disassemble my walls rather than fearfully and stubbornly hold my ground.
Position Five: How I Can Be Open To Learning And Developing
I chose the Seven of Pentacles. Hard work and patience have to go into something before I can enjoy the fruits of my labor. The card depicts a woman waiting with scythe in hand. I can be impatient, and I think an important thing for me to remember on this journey is to enjoy the journey. Enjoy the wait. Enjoy the process. Take pride in watching my skills and abilities grow rather than impatiently wanting to just have all my problems solved (ha!). This spring I planted a garden, and it was so hard to be patient! I wanted to see the flowers and the peppers and the squash, but I had to wait. There was no shortcut. I had to provide tender loving care and let the plants grow on their own timetable. I began taking pictures of the plants every few weeks, and when I compared pictures it was easier to see the wonderful progress that had taken place. It made it exciting and fun! I think this journal will be something like those pictures. Snapshots for me to look back on when I’m feeling impatient to show me or remind me how far I have actually come.
Tarot chose The Devil. At first I wasn’t sure what to think when this card came up. After looking through my books I have an idea about what this could represent. It might be my inability to let go. In my case not of material things, but of my “hang-ups.” To let go of my sad little fortress and to stand vulnerable to allow real connection. If I am unable to connect deeply, is my so-called “safety” worth it? It’s not an easy thing. That reminds me of the saying, “The devil you know is better than the one you don’t.” Apparently I’m clinging to the devil I know — a lonely but “safe” place — rather than leaping into the arms of what I fear could be another devil: to give myself freely and to be emotionally battered or rejected all over again. I can be open by letting go, bit by bit. Above, the devil’s coat is full of things like masks, a jawbone, a fly, a watch, bat wings, a ring. Maybe I can take off my coat one thing at a time. Drop a mask and later a bat wing and later something else.
Position Six: The Potential Outcome Of My Tarot Journey
I chose the Six of Swords. This represents a journey away from something bad and on to a better place. The child in the front of the boat represents hope while the swords in the back can represent the baggage I still have. No big life journey like this is every really over, so for me in this card the outcome is getting further away from the bad place and heading toward something better. As I achieve some goals, I can set sail for ever nicer lands. Like in the devil card above, maybe I can throw some of those swords off the boat along my journey. It might not be realistic to think I’ll never carry any baggage with me, but I can lighten the load as I grow and learn.
Tarot chose The Magician. When I was choosing my own cards for this spread, I almost chose The Magician for a few different positions, but he didn’t make the cut. So I’m pleased to see him here! The Magician represents the constructive power of the creative mind. What a wonderful way to see my outcome! Tarot is a little more happy or optimistic in this position than my choice of the Six of Swords, and I’m glad. It seems like an wonderful outcome for my hope in The Moon of connecting my conscious, unconscious, and collective unconscious. He has all four elements laid out on his work table and seems confident and connected with each of them; this seems to reflect not only skill, but balance. The Magician’s creative powers also reflect both of my position one cards, which were each threes. What an uplifting card to end this reading with! And I also really, really love his little hat and his little mouse/rat friend perched on his shoulder.
I think because The Magician is such a hopeful card for me in this spread that I will choose him to carry with me through the rest of this course. 🙂
Today my Efflorescent Tarot deck arrived! It’s really beautiful.
What do I need to understand about communicating with my family of choice?
Eight of Pentacles
Methodical and diligent. Perseverance and dedication. Communicating effectively is not something that can be done without concerted practice and hard work. Relationships are indeed work, but the rewards of this job well done are priceless. In this card, the painter has many brushes. This could represent the different tools needed to be a good communicator. Just one brush could not capture the image the artist wishes to paint. The pentacles the model reclines on are orange, while in the painting they are yellow. This could represent some things as being lost in translation. Or not lost necessarily, but messages could be received not quite as they were intended. This could also represent how people can be changed through communication / relationships.
Additionally, it takes both the model and the painter to create this work of art and both are reflected in different ways within the painting. Communication requires all parties to be involved. In order for each person to feel valued and heard, communication (including listening) should be undertaken with both dedication and joy. The model is nude, and this could represent vulnerability. It takes trust to bare oneself in front of others, and it is a great responsibility to respect the vulnerability of others and to cultivate a safe environment where this vulnerability can be transformed into un-self-conscious confidence.
Nine of Pentacles
Independence and solitude, but also loneliness. I’m an introvert and a bit of a loner. I need solitude to re-charge my batteries, and I’m perfectly comfortable being alone for long periods of time. It’s a good thing to be able to find comfort in my own company, but I can’t be my only company. To train a bird to rest on her hand must have taken great patience. Just as she could not expect the bird to “befriend” her right way, I should be patient cultivating these relationships. It will require some give and take, even when these relationships are solidly established. Perhaps it is also a reminder that it is okay to retreat for short amounts of time to reflect, recharge, and to think before responding in a difficult situation.
Three of Cups
It’s kind of funny, I was going to just draw two cards and felt like I ought to pull one more. And here’s my new friend the Three of Cups! This time around, I think I’ll interpret it a little more literally in light of the current situation. In addition to my experience with a serious trigger last weekend, there was another situation. There were plans to decorate for an upcoming fall party, but that didn’t happen for a few reasons. My feelings were really hurt since I thought we had planned a family activity together. I felt like (admittedly still feel like) these plans weren’t a priority or weren’t valued by others in the family. In my already extremely fragile state, this crushed me. In my hurt feelings I had pondered cancelling the family fall party. Maybe this card says, “Throw the party! It might be tinged with hurt this year, but you’ll regret it more if you don’t.” In fact, the card seems to depict a somewhat gloomy day. Darker sky and a tree with no leaves. But these women have gathered anyway. Maybe now is not the time to retreat.
Honestly, I don’t feel like I can tell a whole lot from the pictures themselves. I’m not very good yet at reading symbolism and and trusting my intuition. But I’ll give it a solo shot before I consult their respective books 🙂
The Animal Wisdom Tarot: “Otter, Three of Shells”
Three happy otters, three birds, three shells, three lily pads, three cattails
Maybe at sunrise or sunset?
The Chrysalis Tarot: “Three of Mirrors”
Three mirrors, two animals
A lion and lamb sitting peacefully together
The colors are more subdued than the Three of Shells, but still seems like it could be early day or dusk. So maybe something to do with beginnings or ends?
Let’s see what their books say:
The Animal Wisdom Tarot: “Otter, Three of Shells”
Fun, family, balanced emotions
The Chrysalis Tarot: “Three of Mirrors”
Also joy, family, and friends
It also says “do no harm”
I’ve got to say, though, I don’t see joy and family in this card. It’s pretty, but not “joyful”!
And how to connect these cards to my own life? It’s hard to say with only this information, so after consulting Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot, I would say that I have an incredible support system. Even though I’m in the midst of an emotional storm right now, I probably ought to keep in mind that these people love and support me. They aren’t against me. And when I’m doing okay, we have a lot of fun together. A lot! It’s a new and strange, but really nice experience for me to have a group of people like this.
I keep finding myself waiting for the other shoe to drop because growing up love was not given unconditionally. So I think (and really believe sometimes) that they’ll give me up when they’re done with me or find someone better. On the one hand, that’s a pretty jerky thing for me to say about them. But in this survival part of my mind people are like wild animals. If I decide to let a lion cub into my home, I can’t very well be angry at it when it grows up and eats me. It’s normal. It’s my fault for being silly enough to think a lion wouldn’t eat me, so I can only blame myself.
Despite these deep-seated fears and suspicions, I think they do love me unconditionally. So even though that seems suspect from my flawed perspective, maybe I can try and reframe it as a joyful thing. Which sounds silly writing out, because duh. It just doesn’t feel that way with my trauma as a backdrop or reference.
And even though my guess about beginnings or endings didn’t show up in any of the interpretations, this is a beginning of sorts for me. The beginning of tentatively placing my heart in the hands of others and trusting them when they say they’ll care for it to the best of their ability no matter what. Like the Three of Mirrors for the Chrysalis deck, maybe I have to trust that they’ll “do no harm.” Scary stuff.