Card of the Day: Ace of Pentacles

I drew the Ace of Pentacles today. “The possibility of prosperity, abundance, and security.”

Ace of Pentacles from the Shadowscapes tarot
Ace of Pentacles from the Shadowscapes tarot

Aces are challenging cards for me right now. I want to move past possibility and into reality. But I can’t. I can’t make things suddenly be okay, be “abundant, prosperous and secure.” I can’t make any of that happen on my own schedule. I can just… fuck. Continue to do my own work, trust that other people are doing their work, and that in the end the work will bear fruit?

The little face in that pentacle looks like it’s mocking me. And I am frustrated.

Breathe. Breathe and do the work and have faith. That’s all I can do.

Card of the Day: Page of Swords

I drew the Page of Swords today.

I’m not sure what to do with her. When I look at the card, the first thing I see is the pentacle-stars all around her, and it makes me think about home, about safety, about being grounded. And there’s the air of her element, she’s way up high with those swans. It feels hopeful, open. And she has that tiny little cygnet on her chest.

Honestly, I know exactly what this card makes me think of, what it makes me feel, and I just don’t know if I have the energy or the personal resources or the inner strength to feel these things and not break down. Because she feels like home, she feels like my springtime love and his little humans. She feels like peace, and calm, and home. And I don’t know why she’s showing up today, with that energy. Because I’m not there. And I don’t know when I will be or if I will be.

So a little reading. What I see in the card isn’t actually a common reading for the card at all.

Biddy Tarot says:

The Page of Swords is almost like a green light to say, “Go for it”. There are always going to be challenges with whatever option you choose and not everyone is going to be happy with your choices but when it comes down to it, you need to follow your passions and go where your true energy lies. This Page encourages you to move forward and to get the wheels in motion, despite any challenges or setbacks that may potentially stand in the way.

The Shadowscapes companion says this Page represents:

Vigilance, honesty and truthfulness, scrutiny of beliefs, a strong sense of purpose.

So there’s an element of action here, not just home. And that swords-suit dedication to intellectual rigor, to honesty and the scrutiny of beliefs.

I feel like that little cygnet is my heart, and my hope. And I’m trying so hard to keep her safe, but things are hard right now. (All those feathers falling down around the Page – her ability to stay aloft being compromised the longer she stays up there without being able to come down to safe ground.)

Anyway. I’m probably reading way too much into it. But I barely slept last night and I am feeling profoundly off balance these days. And I don’t know how to manage it.

Card of the Day with Commentary: Death, Five of Wands, Seven of Pentacles

I was having a rough morning. Feeling anxious, tired, and deeply, deeply unloveable. Like the dark core of myself that I’ve always believed to be true, the broken bit at the base, had been confirmed. True fact: Gloom Fairy is not truly loveable.

So I did some journalling.

And then I did my card of the day.

All three of my cards – the one for my day (Death), the present moment/how I’m feeling about the situation (Five of Wands), and the background to the day (Seven of Pentacles) – were jumpers. I unwrapped my deck and the Death card flipped over as I pulled the cloth away, “hello, you are looking for me” she seemed to say. And I thought, okay. I’ll take it. I love that card. Renewal, transformation, rising out of the ashes. (On which note, I had been listening to this song all week.)

And then I started shuffling and the Five of Wands basically backflipped out of the deck. “IT’S ME! Hello, it is me.” So I thought, again, okay. I’ll take it. It makes sense. My companion book says:

In the Five of Wands, sometimes it seems the world tosses dozens of obstacles in your path. When gathered together, these minor obstructions become an overwhelming wall to over, but take heart… Answer that challenge not with despair but with renewed vigor. Appreciate the unknown strengths that are drawn forth when faced with difficulties.

And then I went back to shuffling, kind of amused and a little dismayed because I actually love the ritual of cutting my newly shuffled deck and laying the cards and flipping them, the routine of it, the ritual, the repetition of an action that helps me feel grounded and calm. But no! It was not to be! The Seven of Pentacles dropped saucily out of the middle of the deck, winking. Choices got you here, she said. She’s right.

So here’s my spread of jumpers.

Death, Five of Wands, Seven of Pentacles from the Shadowscapes tarot.
Death, Five of Wands, Seven of Pentacles from the Shadowscapes tarot.

It’s a cheeky little spread, I think. And encouraging. (I find the Shadowscapes deck is always gentle and warm and welcoming – that’s why I went there this morning rather than my usual draw from The Wild Unknown.)

This is how I read the spread –

My card of the day is a reminder of my greatest strength – my ability to go through the deep dark and come out transformed into a better version of myself. The Death card is one of my favourites in tarot, because of how it reveals the necessity of change for growth. There are some endings that are necessary. There are some endings that are beginnings. That’s what this card says, to me. Let go so you can grow. Let it die. Let it be reborn.

And I’m not really sure what this means for me, right now. What is it that I need to let die? My belief in my unloveability, maybe. That sharp thread runs danger-bright through the core of me. That’s a big death, if that’s it.

Or maybe it’s the relationship with my springtime love that used to be. The one before. Maybe I need to let that go, let that die. It’s not coming back. It’s ashes now, and gone.

The Death card says that’s okay. That doesn’t mean the relationship can’t be reborn. But it does mean the relationship has to be reborn. Made new.

And those wands. That’s a daunting task. It’s a lot of obstacles to navigate. But the Five of Wands isn’t hopeless. Far from it. Like the Death card, it’s a card of overcoming.

And the Seven of Pentacles, reminding me that the time for waiting has passed, the seeds that were planted are growing, and although there is still work in the future, there is also the opportunity to appreciate the fruit in front of me. She’s all about choices, this card. And about reaping the rewards of hard work. She’s the background to the Death card and the Five of Wands in this spread, the reminder that growth is slow but rewarding, that choices lead places, that our efforts do bear fruit.

So let it burn down, and then build it back up. Let it go. Let it come back. It’s daunting, but it’s worth it.

Card of the Day: Two of Cups, Daughter of Wands, Two of Swords

I’ve had a tumultuous few days, and I couldn’t write. Or didn’t write. Whichever. Mostly moped around.

On Wednesday, I drew the Two of Cups. This was a bit of a mind-fuck, because… Because! Because of the situation that precipitated this whole journey.

Two of Cups from The Wild Unknown tarot.
Two of Cups from The Wild Unknown tarot.

Carrie over at Happy Fish Tarot says this about the Two of Cups in this deck:

The Two of Cups shows the sharing and growth that we experience through our connections.This shows a sense of reciprocity and mutually exchanged beauty.

… One of our most basic needs as human beings is to feel seen and valued. In a reading, the Two of Cups can encourage you to reach out to others. Tell someone you appreciate them, make an effort to strengthen a bond or offer a kind word. Despite the complications and conflict that accompany human interactions, this card shows our ability to forgive, bond, heal and encourage one another.

Beth at Little Red Tarot says this about the Two of Bottles (Cups):

This is love.
It’s not The Lovers, it’s not the Ace of Cups.

For me, it’s the Two – of cups, bottles, chalices, water – that really represents what love feels like when you make it real.

What’s happening is an exchange. This version of love is like, you hold this cup, this bottle, which contains all of your water – your feelings, your heart, your soul – and then you offer it to someone else. And, hopefully, they’re offering theirs to you. You offer with complete trust, with the genuine desire to connect. So you can each take the cup of the other, offered so willingly, and drink deep. It’s about saying yes, about saying ‘let’s explore this, together’, and ‘here is my heart, here is what it needs – do you think we can do it?’

So that was Wednesday. And then I ran into him at the science centre. And I wasn’t able to offer anything – I didn’t even make eye contact with him. But I texted him after, and said that I still love him, and there were FEELINGS. Feelings. There were feelings. And I thought, of course I saw him on the day I drew this card. Of course. Of course.

And I did a larger spread with this card as the base, and I’ll write that up next.

Thursday, I drew the Daughter of Wands.

Daughter of Wands from the Wild Unknown tarot.
Daughter of Wands from the Wild Unknown tarot.

And I had another of those “eff you, tarot deck, you don’t know my life” moments that I’m really starting to pay attention to. Because the Daughter of Wands, according to Happy Fish Tarot,

is a sweetly charming character. She is coiled around a blossoming wand, her body forming a figure 8, or the lemniscate symbol (representing infinity). She looks graceful and flexible, ready to incorporate into her environment whatever suits her fancy.

She is colored with red and yellow, making her stand out from the harsh black background. The tip of her tail curves gracefully, giving her an artistic flair. She is a creative and original character, someone with an infinite imagination. She lives life in her own fresh, original way – she is not bound by the status quo.

There’s an innocent confidence to this card. The Daughter of Wands moves not with a cocky arrogance, but with a quiet assurance. She has sweet faith that things will work out for the best.

…You are being asked to step forward into something that resonates with your authentic self. You have the ability to make the world a more beautiful place. Use your charm to your advantage and cultivate a belief that you’ve got what it takes to succeed.

On Thursday I felt hopeless. Discouraged. All that Two of Cups energy and still I wake up without my springtime love and with no confidence in any future for us, and I don’t want to have “sweet faith that things will work out for the best” and I don’t want to “live life in [my] own fresh, original way.” No. Fuck that. Much like my reaction to drawing The Empress a while ago, my reaction to this card was a temper tantrum and a strong desire to retreat. Couldn’t I pull the fuckin’ Hermit or something? Fuck.

But I sat with this “you do you” creative energy for the day, and I still hated it, but I started to see how the wand here looks so similar to the Ace of Wands that I keep getting. And I thought about how maybe that wand blossoms because she is willing to step into that creative, authentic energy of her self. And I thought, okay. Fine. So I expressed myself. I expressed the hell out of myself, and said way more than I probably should have, but it was the right thing to do. And just like when I closed my eyes and jumped into the Empress energy before, this also felt like a necessary catharsis. I was pretty upset after, and my friend offered to come over, and I told him what I’d done and said, and his reaction was to say “Yeah, well, that’s you. That’s all the way you.” It was what I needed to hear.

Now, today.

It’s a bit funny, today’s card, given yesterday’s card.

It’s the Two of Swords.

The Two of Swords from the Shadowscapes tarot.
The Two of Swords from the Shadowscapes tarot.

I described it to someone this morning as a “shut up, doofus” card. I know that’s a fairly flat interpretation of a card with quite a bit of nuance, but given the context it seemed appropriate. “You’ve said your thing, now be quiet and think.”

I’m not good at that. At all. I’m just better at saying my thing, and then saying more, and then more, and then more, and then a little more, and then, after that, a little bit more.

And the Two of Swords is also a card of emotional withdrawal, of defending the way in to the heart. Another thing that I am really, really not the best at. And something that feels relevant right now, today, because my heart feels wide open and I am trying, so hard, to remember how to maintain boundaries for myself and not slip back into negative patterns of behaviour and thought. So I need those swords, intellect and analysis, thought and memory, awareness of self and other. I need those. I need to be quiet, to think, to guard this wide-open heart just a little bit. To set boundaries requiring balance and reciprocity in my relationships (that’s from the spread I did last night – I’ll try to write that up today too!).

So.

That’s where my days have been at. It’s been a lot! I am thankful for tarot as a lens through which I can view this tumultuous time in my life. It gives me something physical and tangible to ground myself down into. I need that, have needed that. And I appreciate it.

Card of the Day: Nine of Swords

I’ve drawn this card before, so I knew that it’s supposed to be a negative thing. But this morning, when I sat with the card itself and forgot what I’ve already read in the companion book, this card felt so hopeful.

The Nine of Swords from the Shadowscapes Tarot.
The Nine of Swords from the Shadowscapes Tarot.

I think it felt so hopeful because she’s looking up into that bright sky above, and the red thread is tangled around her hands – there’s light at the end of her dark tunnel, and she hasn’t lost her connection to her path and to the one she’s meant to walk it with.

Am I reading way too much of myself into this card? Obviously.

I really like Paige Zee’s post on the Nine of Swords, it resonates for me:

Traditionally, this is the card of nightmares and despair. …

[But] it’s an opportunity to choose action over anxiety.

I believe what’s happening here is a call to bravely face our fears and move forward despite the whispering voices of doubt.

We are called to see how much of our fears are illusions. Let the light in by taking action to further your goals. Focus not on the distant future; plan instead to accomplish what you can do NOW. Adopt the “one step at a time” method. Look to the near future and seize the opportunities of today.

Trust your gut instead of your mind, which can fall prey to worry and doubt and fear and therefore inaction.

You can do this. Everything is more doable than it seems. All you have to do is take one. step. And if your fears worries and doubts are too much, if they are blocking your forward movement, then you can sit with them. Write them down. Talk them out. What are you afraid of, and why?

I really like this interpretation, and it fits with my own gut reaction to the card this morning. It feels encouraging, actually. It’s not about things being easy, but it does seem to be about finding some ease – some comfort from the feeling of being stuck and trapped and unable to move, beleaguered on all sides by Things That Suck. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s help from all those lovely crows. There’s a place to go and a way to get there, and despite all the anxiety hanging heavy around, there are actions to take and choices to make.

That’s lovely.

Card of the Day: The Fool

The Fool from the Shadowscapes tarot
The Fool from the Shadowscapes tarot

I have a lot of positive feelings about this card. For one thing, it’s the first card I ever drew for myself from this deck, and it feels welcoming and hopeful and like home. I really see myself in this Fool, with her hopefulness and willingness to take the next step. She’s brave, and it doesn’t always work out, but that’s who she is. That’s how I want to see myself.

But also, I recently did a “what is going on” spread for myself, and this is the card I drew for my springtime love, and it made me feel really hopeful. Maybe he will take on some elements of The Fool. From my companion book:

The Fool is a symbol for new beginnings and adventures, pleasure, passion. … Like The Fool you may stand upon the precipice gazing out into the unknown. … There are unlimited possibilities opening up for the seeker.

But this isn’t that reading (though I would like to write that reading up sometime, because it was lovely and hopeful), this is today. So what is The Fool for me today? Hope, still. Taking risks with the hope of new beginnings, adventures, pleasure, and passion.

Yesterday was an interesting day. I took The Empress to heart and I spent (most of) my day off of social media and thinking about what I could do to bring more creative energy into my life. I picked up supplies for a few crafts, and it felt really good. But the day was also hard, and when I went to sleep I felt drained and discouraged and ready to close doors.

Then I slept.

And I woke up, and there was hope.

So, The Fool for me, today, is the willingness to take the risk of keeping the door open and staying hopeful. She feels right.

There’s an element of action in The Fool, a willingness to take that step into the unknown and uncertain, to trust that it will be okay. That’s the part that I haven’t figured out for myself in today’s draw. I am not sure what action is presenting itself (for me, today, The Fool feels like she’s got a lot of Hanged Man energy, and that actually feels okay – hanging in is an action, and maybe The Fool tells me that it’s worth it).

Okay! Foolishly forward!

Week 1 Reading: The Reader’s Reading

The Little Red Tarot "Reader's Reading" spread, using the Shadowscapes tarot
The Little Red Tarot “Reader’s Reading” spread, using the Shadowscapes tarot
The Reader's Reading from the Little Red Tarot Alternative Tarot Reading course (highly recommended!)
The Reader’s Reading from the Little Red Tarot Alternative Tarot Reading course (highly recommended!)

1.   About you in general: what is your most important characteristic?

The Hanged Man

I have some feelings about this. It was hard for me to interpret, to accept. My most important characteristic is my inability to move? Wow. Fuck you, tarot deck. But, as I wrote about when I drew this as yesterday’s card of the day, The Hanged Man is not just immobilization and powerlessness. There’s also a willingness to look at the world from a different perspective, and an acceptance of the “what is”ness of what is.

In this case, I read “most important characteristic” not to mean the characteristic that I already possess and that is important, but the characteristic that I am working on. And in that way, this card feels right and perfect for me right now. A willingness to accept, to allow, to “hang in there” and to take time to allow myself to really gain perspective – those are characteristics I am trying to cultivate in myself. And also, a willingness to recognize when I am not in control, to recognize that in many instances I have never been in control (of other people, for example) – that feels important. Critically important.
2.   What strengths do you already have as a tarot reader, what are you bringing to this course?

King of Swords

I read this as my intellect, my careful weighing of multiple sides of an issue, my contemplative nature. The card itself feels sad and lonely to me. I’ve drawn this card twice as representative of me, my strengths, and what I bring to a situation. This feels sad to me. Lonely. Isolated. Myself and my thoughts. I am trying to reconcile myself with this as a strength, to let myself sit with this part of myself that I do not love so much – time alone, with my thoughts.

Rachel Pollack identifies the court cards in the suit of swords as “battle, powerful mind, discipline” and suggests that a hero in this suit might be Batman. When I read that, I thought – okay. Yes. I’ll take it.
3.   What limits do you feel as you start this course?

Queen of Cups

I wrote about the Queen of Cups before, and it was difficult to think of this as a limit. I’m still processing this. My emotionality limits me here? Yes, I suppose so.

But it also occurs to me, having now sat with this reading for a couple days, that perhaps the limit being highlighted here is that I am not allowing enough of the Queen of Cups in my life. I’m not trusting my heart, not listening to my heart – I mean, there is a lot of Big Feels happening in me, but where is the space to listen to what this heart really needs? Where is the calm? Where is the confidence in my intuition and my emotions and my self-knowledge? Where is my self-knowledge? Am I too attached to a specific outcome to be able to think clearly about the present situation, or other possible outcomes? The Queen of Cups is emotion, yes, but also surety in her experience of that emotion. I don’t have that right now. I think I am going to have to keep sitting with this.
4.   What key lesson can you learn on your developmental journey with tarot?

Page of Cups

From the companion book:

The Page of Cups is sentimental. She is a true romantic at heart, and in a world that is filled with so much noise and bustle, she longs for the time and space to simply breathe and to truly take in the pleasures that abound. She listens to the still voice from deep inside that speaks with understanding and intuition, and she longs to believe in the impossible.

This feels so right and encouraging for me. This feels like a very good companion card to the Queen of Cups in this journey.
5.   How can you be open to learning and developing on this journey?

The Sun

When I refer to the actual sun, the one up in the sky, I call it the Evil Day Star. I’ve never had an affinity for the sun, for bright cloudless skies and hot days. No. Give me clouds and warm rain, give me moonlight.

But.

The Sun (and the sun) are energy. Movement. Life. And I’ve got a lot of Hanged Man energy, a lot of Pentacles energy, weighing me down. Being open to some “go get ’em” isn’t such a bad thing.
6.   What is the potential outcome of your tarot journey?­­­

Four of Swords

I love this. The idea that tarot can give me a space to rest, some respite from the anxiety and sadness that weighs so heavily on me… Not only does this feel hopeful and calming, it also feels accurate. So far, tarot really has given me a deep sense of calm and a focus for the chaotic, frantic, anxious energy that marks my days, and the despair and hopelessness that haunts my evenings. It helps that the Shadowscapes deck is so gentle and welcoming, but I think it’s more than that. It’s a deep immersion in metaphor, an opportunity to pause, to form a question from the chaos of my thoughts, to sit with the many possible answers that present themselves. Tarot fits beautifully with the other mindfulness practices I have started to bring into my days – meditation, and play, and a focus on more material self-care (food, and breath, and time in nature).

The card I’m taking forward with me through the course is… I don’t know. It feels like it should be the Queen of Cups for continuity, but honestly, today, feeling as low as I am and as drained and sad and discouraged… I’m going to take the Four of Swords. Give me some rest, please. Give me some respite. Give me calm. Give me the strength to stay still, to step back, to take the space I need to move more fully into my life. That’s what I need, I think. That’s what I’m hoping for.