Card of the Day: Six of Cups

Six of Wands from the Shadowscapes tarot.
Six of Wands from the Shadowscapes tarot.

I woke up sad. Yesterday was a tough day, and I didn’t sleep much – I went to bed still hanging, and I woke up exhausted. I want some encouragement. I want some reassurance. I want to know that things will be okay, and I want to know that the definition of “okay” will include me and my springtime love reunited, and I want that reunion to be soon – not as long, this time, between hugs. There are just a lot of questions begging for answers and not a lot of space to be present in the now. I woke up with all that weighing heavy on my heart.

And I know that I can’t make his choices for him. And I know that I can’t ignore my own choices while I wait. So I got up, instead of doing my card of the day draw in bed like I often do. I checked my social media sites to see if there was anything, any post or hint or flicker of hope. There was not. I sat down on the couch and took a bit of time with this.

I got out my peacock ore – it’s so beautiful and hopeful. I chose Middle Pillar and Anthelion from my Twilight Alchemy Lab oils. Middle Pillar to help “find your center, recover and maintain internal balance” and Anthelion to “[d]rive off despair and grief, and enable you to find hope and joy in life again.” A drop of Middle Pillar on my left hand, and a drop of Anthelion on my right, and then I rubbed them together and smelled the sharp, resiny, warm scent and then I shuffled my cards, and then I drew.

The Six of Cups.

It feels like such a hopeful, peaceful, encouraging card. She’s hosting a tea party, with her red sash (and me, still clinging to the idea of the red string of fate, and hoping our hearts are tied together). She looks like me, when I was little. And the card is so balanced. There’s water in the stream, and fire in the lanterns, and earth sending up those strong trees, and the calm blue air. And there’s abundance, too. There’s not one or two fish in that stream, there’s a wealth. There are mushrooms and trees and grasses, dryads and all sorts of fae folk, and there’s her stuffed animals – her imagination bringing even more life to the moment.

And there’s that one teacup, down there by the stream. And I think, that’s for my love. That’s space at my table, and he can join whenever he’s ready, but I can keep pouring tea while I wait. There can be holding on and holding space and being open, without being rigid and joyless and full of despair. That’s what I got from the card when I first saw it.

The companion book says:

The Six of Cups is a reminder of childhood innocence, good intentions, noble impulses, simple joys and pleasures. It is not meant to be overly sentimental, but more an urging to remember the open-mindedness of a child’s perspective, and to push back the narrowness that folds in on you over time, with the complexities of life and responsibility.

I get a lot of “be child-like” cards, it seems. And they resonate for me. There was something magical about child-me. She was fae and hopeful and generous and loving and I loved her, and I lost a lot of her to depression and anxiety and trauma. Or, not lost. It’s all still there. I’m just in the process of rediscovering and reclaiming it.

I have this vivid memory from the week before I left my husband. I had the place I was moving to already arranged, and everything was done. We were in the car. I forget what was said, but I laughed, and he said, “I will always miss you. There’s nobody else like you, the way you can be so much like a child, in a good way.”

It was a really generous, loving moment in a really difficult time for both of us. There was a lot of grief and a lot of hurt. But that was a gift. The way he saw the spark in me and named it and honoured it. That was a gift. I am grateful for it.

The Six of Cups tells me that I will be okay. That the strong, resilient child I was is still there, and she has come through so much. She will come through this too. She’ll do it with tea and with friends and with creativity and with joy.

I have a deep well of sadness in my soul. Dark depths of grief. And it is all present in this moment, my longing and my homesickness for my love and the intense feeling that this separation is wrong on a soul-deep level, that when we are together it is right. But I can’t make that happen. I can’t. I can’t summon him to the cup. I don’t have that power and I don’t want it. It has to be him. It has to be his choice.

There’s another side to the well of sadness in me. There’s the wide capacity for joy. That’s present too, if I let it be.

Leave the cup for him, he does have a place at this table. But pour the tea for myself and my friends and my other lovers in the meantime.

Card of the Day: The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man from Stephanie Law's Shadowscapes tarot.
The Hanged Man from Stephanie Law’s Shadowscapes tarot.

Like with yesterday’s card of the day, I am having some capital-f Feelings about this.

The Hanged Man.

Stuck. Powerless. My thoughts about the trope are separate, I realize, from my thoughts about the card. The card itself is beautiful, even hopeful. The little fae creature in front of his face looks loving and positive, almost as if she is about to boop him on the nose. The dryads look worried, sad, but the man himself looks peaceful. Almost like he is mid-dive, rather than suspended.

The purples and browns are calming, and the ankh hanging from a red thread in the top corner… I have feelings about that too. About red threads, and soul mates, and life. Red threads.

I’m working on the week 2 exercises now, the suits and elements of the minor arcana. So I notice that he’s hanging from a wand. From the fire and action that he will eventually take? Or the action he is suspending in order to surrender to this moment?

Last night when I did my week 1 weekly reading – The Reader’s Reading, which I’ll write up later today – the card in the “About you in general: what is your most important characteristic” was The Hanged Man. I had a long, long moment with that. It resonates. And that… hmm. I don’t want it to. But it does. Metaphor, metaphor, metaphor. Fuck you, accurate metaphor.

From the Shadowscapes companion book:

Letting go and surrendering to experience and emotional release. Accepting what is, and giving up control, reversing your view of the world and seeing things in a new light. Suspending action. Sacrifice.

Letting go and surrendering to experience and emotional release. Accepting what is, and giving up control. That does mark my entire journey right now – my effort to let go, to let whatever it is be what it is, to accept it, to give up control (whether it is in my controlling codependent behaviour or in my desire to control the outcome of what my springtime love will eventually do – giving up all those elements of control that are always already illusory. Illusory, but comforting. Fuck, so comforting. The Hanged Man does not look comfortable.)

I also purchased Rachel Pollack’s book Tarot Wisdom, Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings and she writes that a fundamental meaning of the Hanged Man is:

to seem, at least, upside down, the wrong way around.

To others (who think that my holding on and holding the door open to my love is causing me pain, or who think that my spiritual journey is too woo-tastic, or whatever) but for me, now, mostly to myself. Because I think all that. Because I think this is all stupid bullshit and I should close the door on him and on this and fuck all this challenging work. I was just fine as a caterpillar. I don’t need to be a butterfly or moth or whatever I’ll be at the end of this. Fuck it all! It hurts! It’s hard! It hurts. It’s hard.

Rachel Pollack writes:

[M]any modern Tarot readers assume a negative meaning for the Hanged Man… being stuck, hung up, a painful sacrifice. To be honest, this surprises me, for I’ve always seen this card as a kind of liberation of the spirit. …

The Hanged Man… shows us at a stage where we can glimpse the great truths. We begin to understand, not just conceptually but with genuine knowing….

And that is why I’m still doing this.

That red thread, and my belief that I am not done with my springtime love, that we have more to explore together, and that the door needs to stay open in order for that to happen.

And the sense of readiness. The feeling that I am on this path right now because I’m ready to be on this path right now. I am doing this because I am ready to do this. I am ready to let go of old habits that no longer serve me. I am ready to let go of my need to control. I am ready to let go of my codependency, my old pains and traumas. I am ready. I am here because I am ready.

Yes, it sucks.

Yes, it’s hard.

Yes, it feels upside down and I hate it and I struggle with it and I don’t know how much longer I can do it for and I want to get down off this fucking tree, holy fuck, I hate this! Yes.

But also…

Yes, it’s amazing.

Yes, it’s easy, it’s right.

Yes, sometimes I stop struggle, call truce with myself, and see everything shifted and beautiful.

Yes.

I love this, yes. Yes. Yes.

I’m not stuck. I’m growing.

And this, too. The Hanged Man is in a position very much like a caterpillar cocooned and ready for metamorphosis. And that’s a metaphor I’ve been using for myself for weeks now. So.

Onward, with grace and ease.