This week was all about the elements in the Minor Arcana suits. It had me thinking about balance, and looking for where I’m connected to the elements in my own life. Today was a day of particularly emotional … emotions … so it seemed like it was about time to do the Four (except I added Spirit) Elements reading.
And hoo boy, these cards, man. These cards.
Your situation at this moment
The earth of your situation
The water of your situation
The air of your situation
The fire of your situation
The spirit of your situation (added by me, haha, sorry Beth!)
And this was my spread –
The heart of the situation – the reversed Two of Pentacles. Blocked from being balanced. And there’s so much in this card that resonates for me in my situation with my springtime love. The butterfly, which is the metaphor I’ve constantly been drawn to for what we are both going through. The reversal – being blocked from becoming that fully realized butterfly. I think that he is currently in the process of deciding whether coming out of his cocoon is a risk he’s willing to take, and all I can do is hope that he does. And the infinity symbol there… A lot of feelings. A *lot* of feelings.
Then my earth. My foundation. The Five of Pentacles. Oh, yes, the Five of Pentacles indeed. Sadness. Grief. Loss. And that rose is so alone. This card, as soon as I flipped it, hit me hard in the heart. This is my earth right now. Deep grief, heavy loss. Is it the same rose as in the Two of Cups? I think so. My heart says yes. My heart says that if he came back, we could transform this dropping flower into something vibrant and alive. But that’s not the present. The present is sadness.
Then my water. My emotions, my heart. The Chariot, reversed. Another blockage, another instance where there is something stopping me from moving forward, from progressing. The Chariot is such a hopeful, positive, powerful card and I feel, just like in the reversal of the Two of Pentacles, that we are *so close* to movement, and yet still so far away.
Then my air. My intellect, my wide-open spaces, my expansiveness (that’s how I picture air, anyway, maybe because all my guided meditations end with picturing your mind emptying into a clear sky). The Ace of Wands. Again. Always this card! It tells me there is hope, there is growth coming, there is beauty up ahead. But it doesn’t tell me whether that happens with or without him, and I hate the cards for that (even though I don’t believe they tell the future. Still, I want them to! God, I want them to). Again, the anger that points to where I’m feeling trapped and helpless and off balance and out of control. That anger is becoming a very useful tool for recognizing the spaces where I’m letting myself down.
Then my fire. My spark, my drive. Temperance. Balancing fire and water, holding seemingly incompatible elements in balance with each other. This feels hopeful, and accurate. I am good at this. Feeling fear and acting despite it. Sitting with discomfort and doing the work of processing it. I am willing to do this work. And I am good at it. It’s part of what makes me who I am.
Finally, my spirit. The Wheel of Fortune, reversed. And an owl there, of course. Because I am on this path because of my love, because our connection made me feel that there is, perhaps, something ineffable between us and within me, and I wanted to explore that. But reversed, because again there is that something blocking forward movement. That’s the whole spread, right there. So much potential, and something blocking any movement forward.
But a reversed card isn’t permanent, I don’t think. Blocks can be moved. And if I flip them all, it looks like this –
Still a reading with sadness in the foundation, but look at all the movement, all the progress. Finding balance, finding peace, moving forward. And when I look again at this spread, I see how the drooping flower in the Five of Pentacles is given new life in the Ace of Wands. And I can see the Wheel of Fortune up there in the corner, with that owl, and I think that whatever happens, there is a connection here. And it’s good.
If I read the spread top to bottom, this is what jumps out at me –
I start in this sadness. Yes, I can’t deny that and I can’t change that. That card is solid, and that card is my foundation right now. Five of Pentacles, I see you. I acknowledge you.
But then up, to the Two of Pentacles and to the butterfly – coming out of the cocoon and into balance, into an “always”ness that was already present, but needed to be recognized and accepted.
And up again, to the Ace of Wands and to a new beginning, to the flowers blooming, to the bright potential there.
And up, once more, to the Wheel of Fortune and the owl that will always be my love, and to moving through difficult times into better ones and then back into difficulty (but maybe together, this time?).
It feels hopeful.
Things may be stuck right now, but they won’t stay stuck forever. And once they unstick, they will be amazing.
I’ve had a therapy-full couple days – I saw my psychologist yesterday, and we talked about The Feels. And then I saw my cranio-sacral therapist today, and we also talked about The Feels. But different Feels. Or, the same Feels but from different angles. Right now, while things are really difficult, and since I am working so effing hard on tending my inner garden, I’ve been finding it really helpful to have the two complementary therapies working side-by-side. And I am fortunate to have a psychologist who is supportive of my queerness and my non-binary gender and my poly and my kink and on top of all that, my new exploration of some kind of spirituality. She’s basically the best.
So it was all the therapy and all the tears. Sweet baby dragons, I cried all the fucking tears. Today, with her hand on my belly, my therapist said “have you ever wanted to be a mom?” and OH MY GOD. The sobbing. The hand-on-heart, whole-body sobbing. Because there are exactly two children in this world that I have been eager to share my every-day with, and they… well. They are not in my life right now. At all. And wow. Wow. I don’t often let myself touch that particular pain, because it’s a specific form of awful. But she asked, and my body answered. It’s a complicated answer – the answer is “no, I have never wanted to be a mother and I will never have biological children” but it is also “there’s a piece of my heart that I happily handed to two tiny humans, and as much as I love the other tiny humans in my life, these two… I thought they would be in my life always and I wanted that more than anything and it terrified and bewildered me even at the time and now, without that, it’s just a them-shaped gap that I barely even comprehend.” When I first met my cranio-sacral therapist and she was asking about my state, she thought there had been a pregnancy. There wasn’t. Won’t ever be – this uterus is a baby-free zone – but there are those two little humans. Fuck, that hurts.
After all the therapy and all the tears, I had a tea-and-tarot date with one of my best friends.
We went to Chapters and I got some things for the kids’ room in my place – there are lots of little people who share time with me – and I got a gift for one of my partners, and I took a picture of some owl beanies and I bought an owl teapot and basically I am pathetic and sentimental but it was okay. And then we went back to her place and I did a reading for her and she did a reading for me.
This was mine –
That’s my new deck – it just arrived yesterday. It’s The Wild Unknown and it’s gorgeous. I’ve had a few readings done with this deck before – one of my good friends has it, and Beth from Little Red Tarot used it for my reading (which I’ll be writing up and sharing soon). Anyway.
It’s a slightly modified past-with-commentary, present-with-commentary, future-with-commentary. Modified to add that seventh card because the reading just didn’t feel done until I did that. My question was “what’s happening with my springtime love”? (Because I am predictable as fuck. *facepalm*)
So. My past. The Four of Wands. Completion and celebration. Every time I’ve done a past-present-future spread, the past is glorious. And I always think, yes. It was. It was amazing. He showed me that it was possible to be loved for all the parts of me that I didn’t think anyone would even want to share, let alone adore. He gave me back parts of myself that had been lost to trauma decades before. So, celebration? Yes.
And the commentary – Mother of Swords. Experienced, all-seeing. Because I thought that I knew what the future was going to hold. I thought I knew. I thought it would be us, always. That’s what we said, over and over. Us, always. Always, always, always. And there’s an owl on that card, just to fuck with me. Yes. That is my past. Yes.
And then the present – the Six of Cups. I’ve written about her before. In the liner notes for The Wild Unknown, this card is memories, childhood. And that also is accurate. So accurate. What I’m working on right now is undoing old habits and old patterns of relating and being, things deeply rooted in my childhood. And also reclaiming lost ways of being, rooted even more deeply in that child-self. Reacquainting myself with my child-self, relearning the lost art of feeling safe and wild and free.
The commentary – Temperance. Another card I’ve drawn a few times, and one that I struggle with. The liner notes say “healing, renewal, balance.” I am trying. Fuck, am I ever trying…
Then the future. And my breath held as the cards turn over, and I want an answer this time. I want definitive. I want to know! I don’t even believe that tarot can tell the future, but oh my god, I want to know. I want to know! This limbo, it’s awful. It’s painful. It’s confusing and it hurts and I hate it. I hate it! I want an answer.
The Mother of Wands. This is not what I want, my heart wails. I want The Lovers, or The Star, or the Two of Cups, or something. Something that isn’t – you will be okay either way. I don’t want to be okay either way. I want to be okay together. Hear me, universe?! TOGETHER! *flips table* *stomps off*
Okay, I didn’t actually flip the table. And I will be honest about the fact that hearing Beatrice talk about this card, described over at Happy Fish Tarot as:
A snake curls protectively around a nest of eggs, a wand held at an angle seems to serve as added armor. This mother is someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. Although she can be kind and warm, she is fierce and loyal, and not afraid to stand her ground.
She holds her values dear to her heart and isn’t afraid to live in a way that lines up with her moral code. She doesn’t do anything halfway – she’s in it to win it. She pours all of her love, originality and unique energy into everything she does. She is a true artist, more mature than the son or daughter.
The background is filled with horizontal lines, colored throughout with orange and red. It gives the Mother of Wands a strong, stable energy. She is so vibrant that she almost has an energy field around her. But unlike the emanating energy of the Son of Wands, her energy is steady. She channels her energy in a more effective way.
More so than any other depiction of the Queen/Mother of Wands, this card gives me the impression of someone who holds their beliefs dearly. She’s willing to fight for what she knows is right. Even so, she knows how to have fun. She has a strong life force, a kind of palatable cheeriness that draws others to her.
In a reading, the Mother of Wands asks you to practice gratitude and protect the things that matter to you. Keep your attitude bright and good things will come your way. Live with your whole heart. You’re not here to half-ass things. Let your zest for life color everything you do!
How this card is so me. How I am living authentically and openly, more than most people she knows. I will admit that even though I don’t want to know that I’m already okay, and I will be okay, either way… still, it felt good. And right. And just like when I drew The Empress the other day, my anger again pointed to somewhere that I’m feeling powerless but actually am not powerless.
(And there was part of me, soft and vulnerable and deep in my heart, that sees hope for a future that includes those tiny humans.)
The commentary – the Ace of Wands. Inspiration, new beginnings. Here, again, a type of card that I see often when I read tarot on this topic. Opportunity, potential, hope. Not a single, specific hope, but hope none-the-less. Beatrice said that this future is all me. And very me. And I agree.
But it didn’t feel done. Right. Finished.
So I drew one more card. Where is my love in this future?
If you thought the Mother of Wands stood her ground, wait until you meet the Father! He is someone you do not mess around with. He knows his domain, and he has complete confidence in his role as the master of this territory. He is the boss here, and in both subtle ways and bold, he’ll make sure this is known.
The background of the card is black, which adds to the dominance of the snake. He stands out as a bold, striking character. He isn’t afraid of the night, or anything else. A bolt of pure red and orange descends. These are the colors of raw power.
The bolt also adds a bit of drama to the card. This Father does have a bit of a flair for the dramatic.He enjoys entertaining, and even if he wouldn’t admit it, he likes keeping others on their toes.You’re never really sure what the Father of Wands is going to do next.
But unlike the Son of Wands, the Father does have a master plan. He’s learned a thing or two, and he doesn’t take action just for the sake of it. He takes measured but bold steps, and it isn’t hard for him to find results.
In a reading, this card can remind you not to shy away from your own power. What do you want to create? How can you use your hard-earned skills to make it happen? What plan feels both solid and exciting to you? The Father of Wands invites you to try out his approach to life and watch the results as they are magnetized towards you.
When we were together, he had a lot of this energy. Playful and a trickster, enjoying the ability to keep me on my toes. I think that’s part of why we connected so well in certain areas that neither of us had been able to explore previously. He liked to be in control, and I liked the way he played with that energy. And he does have it in him to be strong, and brave, and to take “measured but bold steps.” I don’t know if this card means he’s in my future (but can I tell myself they’re a pair? Can I tell myself it means he will be?) but the thought of him finding that boldness and confidence and power and inner strength, and finding more outlets for his gleeful expressions of control… that makes me happy. I would like that for him. (I would like to share that with him, but I would like that for him either way.)
I didn’t draw a commentary card on that last one. It felt a little like I was asking too much, already. Demanding to know more than the spread was freely offering. But that last card felt necessary. It felt right to pull it, and it gave me a lot of hope. I know you can’t read for someone who isn’t there and isn’t asking, but if that’s the role he can play in my future, I will be very happy.
So now I wait. More waiting.
But I wait with the questions brought up in therapy at the forefront of my thoughts – how can I keep myself safe and whole while I wait? What do I need to do so that I am continuing on my path and not caught up in always scanning the world for any sign of his return (or any sign that he’s made a decision at all).
Even if we do end up together, I’m still writing my own story. Forgetting that is what has led to so much pain and codependency in my past, and I’m not going to lose the lessons I’ve struggled so hard to begin to learn.
Hope, yes. And that Ace, like all aces, promising something but not hinting at what. Sit with it. That’s my present – Temperance. The willingness to hold conflicting desires and states in harmony, to find balance, to find healing. That’s what I’m doing now. That’s not what I’m waiting for – if I wait for it, it will never happen. I have to keep doing it now, myself, for me. That’s how this works.
And I can hold my secret hope down deep in my heart, and think about … well. All the ridiculous things I am thinking about!