Taking Heart

Shadowscapes Tarot, Queen of Cups, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

I am in the middle of a difficult time. Difficult, but productive. For the first time in a very long time, I’m allowing myself to explore my spirituality. I got my heart broke, hella broke, but the connection that left my heart so vulnerable also reminded me of important things that have been abandoned for a long time. It reminded me of a connectedness and openness that I had forgotten was possible, and that I now know is needed. A desire for a ritual, for the mindful acts that bring me deeply into my body and my soul. A desire for a spiritual practice that somehow also fits with my skepticism. A way to heal, not only this present pain but also the past traumas that have shaped me, and to reconnect with myself.

Part of this process is Tarot. Learning to listen to myself in moments of despair or desire, learning to listen to my heart. I love the Queen of Cups for the way she captures the essence of what I’m hoping to find for myself. This description (from a reading done for her) from Little Red Tarot really resonates for me:

“…lead with your heart, but don’t lose your heart. This Queen looks to her intuition to make mature, informed decisions from a point of personal power and strength. Just because she is the Queen of emotions, doesn’t mean it isn’t backed by a heaping helping of sensibility and foresight that has been fine-tuned over years of experience. … [S]he knows that sometimes you offer the cup and the receiver drinks it all greedily; but sometimes – when you offer it to someone worthy – it is a drink that is shared.”

And from the companion to my own Shadowscapes deck (the image above):

“Her very being is a creative nexus, she is poetry in motion, imagination incarnate. She can dance upon the swells of the ever-shifting, ever-changing seas, in unison with the dance of life that engages all the world and its creatures around her. Guided by instincts, she is attuned to that otherworld and finds joy in that communion of kindred spirits. For another who did not comprehend her synchronicity, a mistep from her position would mean a plunge into unfathomed depths, but not so for the Queen of Cups. She dances on, embraced by the endless azure ocean and heavens, and where the sea meets the sky there is no seam.”

The ability to misstep, to make mistakes, and to dance on – that’s what I’m hoping to find. A little less perfectionism, less control. A little more balance, more intuition, more trust. And a queen, like Beth at Little Red Tarot describes:


This person is more mature still, having a deeper understanding of their suit and how it works within themselves. They know how to use their powers creatively to develop as people, and how to share this with others. They are able to exude the power of their suit, helping others to enjoy and develop that element of themselves, too.

A deeper understanding of the suit of Cups is something I need, especially as I navigate this time of deep and overwhelming emotion. If I can find a way to mature into and through this, then I think this heartbreak and grief will be an incredibly valuable gift. Again at Little Red Tarot, the Cups are described:

The Cups are the cards that look at what lies beneath the surface including secret pains, emotional heartache and triumphs, memory, and the stuff that makes up our inner world. The Cups can be sources of great nourishment and healing, helping us to reach depths we did not think possible, and revealing to us the complexity of our emotional resilience. They can also show us where we are struggling to stay afloat and how our inner and emotional world can feel out of control, far away or a sea storm of confusion.

This blog is mostly for my Tarot journey, but also for the other elements of my spiritual exploration. Tending to my inner garden, and honouring that process. Letting the seeds that have been planted with my now-distant love and in my own heart grow into whatever they will be, and trying to use this as an opportunity to grow, and shift, and become more deeply rooted and more solidly self-aware and more meaningfully mindful in my engagement with myself, and others, and the world around me.

I am taking heart, accepting this cup, moving onward and inward.

Card of the Day with Commentary – Four of Wands, Two of Wands, Judgement

I did the “Card of the day with commentary” from my Complete Book of Tarot Spreads.

The Shadowscapes deck doesn’t really have reversals, but in today’s spread they felt really important, so I used the Little Red Tarot wisdom on reversals when I interpreted this.

The card of the day was the (reversed) Four of Wands. I don’t normally do anything with reversals, but I drew this one reversed, and when I looked at it – so bright and joyful and triumphant, I felt my heart sinking. This isn’t me, not right now. Today, the whole day, has been heavy and I feel like Sisyphus, pushing that fucking boulder forever. It feels hopeless. Where is the “Celebration, freedom, harmony, prosperity, peace, letting go of limitations, jubulation“? The reversal felt right.

Both the “fear of” and the “blocking of” reversal interpretations feel like they apply. There is actually a lot of joy in my life right now, but I have so much trouble feeling it because things have also been so stressful and overwhelming. Not just the ongoing process of grieving my distant love and hoping for a future together, but also our new house presenting endless (expensive) problems, and the difficult (holy fuck, so difficult) process of dealing with my codependent patterns and trying to process old pain. It’s been a lot. It overshadows the joy, and I will admit that there is also an element of martyrdom in it. If I just suffer hard enough, I’ll be rewarded with joy, right? And on the flip side, if I don’t suffer endlessly, I’ll never get what I want because… I don’t know. Latent Calvinism? I don’t know.

So my card of the day has forced me to think about why I am so afraid of joy and celebration, and what I am doing to block myself from feeling it. It also made me think about Brenè Brown’s discussion of “fearful joy” as one way to avoid vulnerability, which is something I’ve been starting to notice in myself more and more. It was a good reminder that there is nothing inherently noble in suffering, and that denying myself the freedom to taste the sweet and the bitter in some misguided attempt to store up the sweet for some perfect future time is a little bit misguided. (Where “little bit” means “an awful lot.”)

The second card, representing the present situation/what is on your mind, was also reversed. The Two of Wands, “Personal power and influence, authority, courage.” Again, “fear of” and “blocking of” apply, because I have felt so deeply that I have no power in the situations that are most painful, no influence, no authority, and very little courage. But that’s not true. It is absolutely true that I don’t have any influence over what is happening in my love’s life and with their choices, but you can’t read Tarot for someone who isn’t there, and this spread is for me. I do have personal power, influence, and definitely authority over my own life. I can make choices that are right for me, and that move me in the direction I need to go. But I don’t want to. I don’t want that responsibility. I don’t want that weight. I don’t want to do this work. I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m discouraged. I want to stay in bed until everything is sorted out, and then step into my life once it’s better.

But I can’t. That’s not how it works. (And I know that – I do. I just don’t want to know it and don’t want to act on it.)

The last card, the background of the day’s events, is Judgement. Choices. Yeah, ya think? I laughed when I saw it.

And then I made a choice. I flipped the reversed cards right side up. I started a blog. I took a deep breath.

I can’t make choices for anyone else, but I can make them for myself. And I am.