Sometimes, you start out doing one thing and then find yourself going on an unexpected journey. So let’s take a Fools Journey through my recent Tarot related hijinks.
I was feeling Witchy last week and working on some writing ideas, going through my old notebooks and books for ideas for my new personal Grimoire, doing some research and exercises figuring out the sometimes cryptic instructions available regarding the technique of creating sacred space known as Laying a Compass; I decided to take a break and practice with my Tarot cards. It has been ages since I had done so and was planning on doing some in depth shuffling and then sorting into the Suits from Ace to King and the Major Arcana from One to Twenty-two followed by a detailed reshuffling… just a refreshing my memory and hands sort of thing I do some times. I find the exercise helpful when I am getting my intuitive juices flowing.
Getting in the right frame of mind is important for reading the Tarot cards because not only do they speak in the language of symbolism and dreams and metaphor, but also because amongst those of us who deal with various forms of scrying and such the Tarot cards are known for being perfectly willing to cut a bitch. Tarot is one of those tools for introspection and or “fortune-telling” that WILL confront you with your BS at some point… sometimes repeatedly. So you’ve got to not only be open to your intuition, but also willing to deal with your own internal blind-spots and issues if you’re reading for yourself. When reading for another, you had best bring your tact and discretion along with your discernment because you might end up stirring up some profound feelings and issues! Tarot cards also do not necessarily predict the future (except in the most general of ways) as much as give you perspective on the things going on in and around you that can affect the general outcome of the question.
Anyway, I found myself drawing four cards and laying them out from left to right with no particular sense of position equaling meaning; merely a deep desire for guidance or perspective or advice or direction.
So yeah, there I am minding my own business feeling witchy and a bit adrift and in need of guidance or direction when one of the Major Arcana and their friends are kicking in the doors of my perception with a hearty “WHAT IS UP MY PARTY BITCHES?!”
Now, I’ve been a Witch for a literal decades, but as I’ve mentioned recently I have until recently been more of a lapsed Witch than a practicing one and I am more than a little rusty with my Tarot skills. So I was immediately writing notes and impressions, checking books, looking up reliable info… heck I even found a very useful Tarot App and Resource site. I even, as the above picture shows, pulled out the same cards from another deck just to compare imagery and seek any deeper meaning or inspiration. I wrote notes on the most basic meanings and noted which ones ‘felt’ like the meaning in the moment, these are in bold in my musings and notes below. Your first impression in interpreting the cards is a useful signpost but not always the end all be all of the messaging, because depending on the layout and the interplay of the meanings and interpretations can affect the conversation as it were.
Over the course of this last week since, in between work and living other parts of my life, I have done some more research about the cards in question and Tarot in general to refresh my rusty memories. I also posted the picture above to my Facebook and Instagram with some comments and got some useful feedback from friends. I have tried to contemplate what sort of messages the interplay of the cards may have.
So here is what I have so far.
Four cards drawn and set down Left to Right with no particular meaning attached to order or placement..
Now while the Tarot deals in symbolism… I did nearly die earlier this year from what was definitely congestive heart failure although I still think it may have been Covid. I was placed into a medical coma and on a ventilator, had a variety of hallucinations/dreams/Elseworlds style scenarios while I was under, and then awaked to a long slow recovery of mixed activity in daily life and work and rest and frequently exhausted contemplation.
Not sure if the experience matches up with the idea of ‘Shamanic Death’ but I rather think an ayahuasca ritual would have been both cheaper and less overwhelming!
As I’ve been recovering I’ve been forced to take time to think about a lot of things and take stock of my life. I have gone to work, come home, and spent my time resting and thinking about everything that is going on around me; reviewing my past and excavating of my emotional and mental baggage and identifying a lot of times where I SHOULD have spoken up for myself or set boundaries or… well something… but I held back out of fear or financial insecurity or just a lack of knowing how to stand up for and advocate for myself. I allowed far too many people and situations to disrespect me in both my professional and personal spheres. I pulled back from blogging, from discussions in social media, from phone calls from friends, caught in a spiral of fear and not-responded/talked-in-ages guilt, and a lot of anxiety and depression.
In reviewing the last decade or so… I realized I had let go of the creative spark that brought me joy and did so much to center me and allowed me to deal with difficult things. I have been slowly getting that creative spark back but it’s been a bit of a journey to get there. Comments here or there in friends social media posts, little fragments of writing, reaching out to people dear to my heart as my schedule and in some cases several thousand miles of distance allows.
I am engaged in a renewed creativity and engagement with the world and making many new beginnings, so the messages of changes and transformation and renewal seem very on point.
Money is TIGHT right now. I should probably stick a Tucks medicated pad into my wallet just to be safe! The house is in some pretty serious disrepair and needs a lot of work. The A/C is out of commission, in Florida. Thank heavens for portable A/C units! Bills from the Hospital piled on top of other bills both expected and not; this along with the reduction in my family income due to the pandemic… Financially it’s gonna be difficult for a couple of months until a few things come into play in the new year.
At the same time, that phrase “keen observation” hit home because a LOT of my problems over the last several years have come from just ‘going with the flow’ and leaping without looking into situations that were MUCH more complex or difficult than I ever imagined. This feels somehow ironic given that over the years I have often preached the message of the complexity of reality and situations to friends and acquaintences.
Kindness balanced with firmness seems not only a personality trait but kind of a notice of how best to move forward. I think I have been too focused sometimes on being kind and nowhere near focused enough (or self confident enough) regarding firmness or perhaps I should say healthy boundaries.
Now there are a few different ladies in my life whom the cards could be referencing if the Queen of Swords is to be taken as representing a particular person’s influence or power to influence my life. Gods know I am busily reconnecting with several dear friends and have somehow found a few new ones recently. Swords, in my personal interpretation of Tarot symbolism, can mean the affect of outside forces or how we are dealing with them, yet in the case of this drawing and card I am not sure this is referencing someone else’s influence as much as it may be some of the aspects of self that have been lacking that I now need to work on integrating.
Then there is that ‘mourning’.. when I was first doing my notes it seemed to obviously accurate about my current emotional state to be the core message of this card (it felt a little to on the nose I guess?) I’ve recently lost a very dear friend, the second year in a row where someone I’ve known and held dear for decades has crossed the veil. The last couple of years especially have seen a lot of upheavals and mis-steps on my personal and professional journeys and my previously mentioned contemplations and review of things has led me to acknowledge a lot of times where I could have dealt with things in a MUCH more sustaining and healthier manner.
Yet in this meaning of ‘mourning’ the Queen of Swords weaves it into the Death card rather fittingly on a certain metaphorical level so I get the impression that the first two cards are part of a set… and that the next two cards form another set and the two sets are interacting with each other as sets or pairs or like a crossroads perhaps?
A hopeful card? I question mark because the phrase ‘you will receive what you deserve’ is potentially a teeny bit of a landmine of meaning depending on the interplay of the cards around it in a reading; overall though I think this is a hopeful sign! I also had some caution about my interpretation of this one because of the very real possibility of wishful thinking creeping into my contemplations of my finances and future. As is appropriate regarding the suit of Pentacles especially and when walking the line between inspiration and intuition that is reading the Tarot, I am trying to stay relatively grounded.
Over the last year, both before and after my hospitalization, I’ve been trying to look at my financial and career life and make some actual long term plans about how I want to live moving forward. How to rekindle and harness my creativity to improve my self and my station in life. Some of these plans are still in the planning stages and some of them are in motion. At the same time a small annual inheritance from my late father is all that’s been really keeping me and my family financially afloat, which is one of the reasons I have had finances and career and spending and income so much on my mind. Then too the changes and reflections brought up by the previous two cards have helped me realize that it was in letting go of my voice in posting things and my fear of messing up my career as some of my coworkers connected on social media in terms of my opinions and faith and spirituality, and my putting off or setting aside my spiritual practices in fatigue or exhaustion when the mad rush of days became an onslaught upon my previously tender boundaries, these were all undermining my ability to make effective and healthy choices in my work and personal lives.
Over the years I have tried to be a giving person, a combination of paying it forward and a genuine desire to help others where and when I can and as appropriate. So generosity and charity seem appropriate I guess. If I can afford it, and someone begs for money for food, I will get them some food or a gift card or something; this is also motivated by a few jobs at convenience stores where folks begging for money for food would buy cigarettes or booze. I will when money is available to spare, stock up on some gift cards to have with me so that I am not pulling out my wallet to help a stranger out.
I am realizing I need to do a lot more research and learning about matters financial as I write this, and nail down some of my plans and aspirations for the future. If we take the progression of each suit as a journey though I feel like perhaps I am making productive progress and will start reaping benefits from what I am sowing and am on the right track. I am also getting the feeling that I need to do some more work in this area and will be saving some of THAT contemplation and activity for later.
I’ve been working on this post for a couple of days and the work of introspection and
if my gut feeling of the reading being divided into two sets of two cards rather than a set of four individual cards rings true, this leads us into our next card.
The Aces, the first cards of each suit, can speak to new beginnings or or influences. Swords can speak to the mental realms, intellect and intelligence, conflict and communication; in my own personal understanding of the Tarot swords can also speak to influences or forces outside ourselves and how we are reacting to them. As always, depending on the layout and the other cards that have come up.
The power to love strongly or to hate. That this was what felt like the message of this card in this reading is especially interesting to me in light of a couple different things.
The first is that since I woke up in hospital and have subsequently returned to my work in the service industry and engaging with the world around me, I have found that I am sometimes more prone to being moody as all fuck! Now as an Aires I can have a bit of a temper sometimes and be headstrong… I’ve always had a bit of a temper… but this is different. I used to be able to control my temper, or so I told myself; though in doing the introspection related both to this particular reading and my recovery process I have realized that a lot of what I thought was controlling my temper and keeping my cool was actually stifling and sublimating my temper in some very unhealthy and unproductive ways. Somehow my nearly dying appears to have pretty much stripped me of that ability. A lot of my journaling and energy work and meditations and stuff over the last year have been around staying grounded, finding my voice, and reopening my heart chakra. For all too long I was swallowing and sublimating a tremendous amount of hurt and anger and fear, and once I drifted away from my Craft as a witch and as an aspiring writer, it really started to eat me alive without my knowing it.
The second message from the Ace of Swords, and of the power to love strongly or hate, is one of the power of decision or decisiveness. Going forward I must choose how to wield the two edged sword of my mind and reactions and ability to communicate to help bring the best possible interpretations of this reading to fruition. Almost as if everything I have gone through this year has cut the ties to my past pains and fears and issues and now I need to make the conscious and well balanced and one hopes graceful and informed decisions to move in the direction of my dreams and goals.
One of the oddest realizations I had while writing this post was that being blessed with ADHD means that a lot of the connections and ideas and themes I wrote about took a lot longer to write out and about than to have happen internally as I did my research into the Card meanings and introspection. The ideas and realizations rapid fired in the recesses of my brain in about an hour of note taking and looking at the page after a couple of hours of research and the writing of this has around a day and a half…
I suppose though that that’s one of the key differences between simple notes and inner realizations versus actually articulating and writing such things out in detail, the act of attempting to communicate these things meaningfully to oneself or to others helps etch these things into our memories, souls, and best future selves.
So… that’s been my recent journey though introspection and the Tarot. Wherever your journey is taking you I wish you bliss and blessed be!