recently i’ve found myself looking for meaning. for rituals. for something to tether myself to the world. i’ve been all over the place recently – and i may say that every week but it feels even more so now, especially since my work partner, my senior copywriter a, is leaving.
on one hand, i’m happy because she’ll finally be happy. a has been burnt out since i joined – barely six months into my stay, i remember leaving the office and retreating into an alcove with her while she cried and cried about how unappreciated she felt. i’m so tired, she said. now that she’s finally leaving, i swear there’s a spring in her step that wasn’t there before. and while i’m happy for her, i’m afraid for me, too. i wasn’t ready for her to leave one and a half years ago. i still am not. or maybe i am.
i haven’t made time for tarot recently. i’m scared i may be bored of it – but i still find it so interesting! i think it’s just that i made it the most important part of my life for a month or two, then became embarrassed to talk about it, especially since i don’t bring it up – it’s my art director who does, since she introduced me to it!
but i need this centering tonight. and while i’m bored with the waite smith deck – i’ve been waiting for the steampunk tarot and the wild unknown! haha – i need to write about this.
i’ll be doing a spread by the ace of stars tarot. it’s called where do i go from here. it sounds right. i’ve lit a candle. breathe.
There’s something about big turning points in your life that make you want to break out the big tarot spreads. Whether they have five cards or seven or nine, bigger, more specialized spreads seem to have more gravity or meaning. And why would you pass up an opportunity to try a new year’s spread on, well, New Year’s Eve?
I tried that today. I pulled up a new year’s spread, shuffled my cards, and laid them out in a tarot spread I’d recently discovered. But for some reason, they turned out so wrong. Each card was reversed. And while I’d completed a reading like that yesterday — and I do believe such spreads happen for a reason — it felt… different. It was like yesterday’s energy hadn’t disappeared. As if I hadn’t cleansed the deck well enough, and the previous day’s energy had rubbed off on my cards and my reading.
So I breathed, aired the room out, lit a candle, and shuffled the cards again. Shuffled thrice, turned half the deck around, then shuffled four more times to make it seven. I closed my eyes, slowed my breathing, calmed my thoughts, and laid out a simple three-card spread.
And suddenly things made sense again.
As my dogs fell asleep by my side, my mind was on the coming year — how to sweep negativity out the door and regain my focus for what I want to be a year of change. And so my question was:
What should I let into my life, and out of it, this 2016?
YOU AT THIS MOMENT: Strength
You are stronger than you know. I am stronger than I know.
When I joined my agency last year, I was excited and motivated while my then-partner (now-senior copywriter) was burnt out. How that turned itself around in 2015! As the year went on, I became more and more burnt out, constantly wondering why I was doing this thankless job, why I hadn’t quit yet. The only thing I truly looked forward to in the second half of the year was my trip to the United Kingdom — three weeks of awe and wonder that got me through the last two months of the year.
In Strength, the lion represents the year I’ve had. It spoke too loudly and roared too much to make itself heard; it wasn’t devoid of happiness, but it was full of louder, more negative things; and most of all, it wasn’t good to me. As Strength, I close its mouth gently, with finality. Its time is up. It’s said enough.
SOMETHING TO LET GO OF: Nine of Wands
The Nine of Wands shows someone who’s been through a lot — and god, do I know how that feels. But how can you live life constantly looking over your shoulder or talking about the shit you’ve been through?
The Nine of Wands tells me to let go of bitterness, fear, and telling people what to fear. Warning new people of the travails of work may have been one of the most damaging things I’ve done this year. While I meant well, I may have made them fear something that they had the potential to love, all because I hadn’t been able to love it myself. Next year, I need to let people figure things out themselves. After all, it’s their life — and their adventure.
ADVICE: Two of Cups
Last night, while talking with old friends from Australia over the largest glass of sangria I’ve ever seen, I realized that 2015 was my Year of the Hermit — minus any success. For one reason or another, I withdrew from the world, and I can’t even say that I nurtured connections with a select few instead.
The Two of Cups tells me to look for connections in my life in the coming year. To put myself out there, first of all. To be on the lookout for relationships that will last without discounting those that already exist. To be open to the idea of love. And to finally, finally believe I deserve it.
The Year Ahead
On New Year’s Eve every year, I come up with a theme that I want to define the next twelve months. Or at least I did once, when I called 2013 my Year of Exploration. I can’t remember what I came up with for 2014 and 2015, but 2016, I believe, will be the Year of Home.
Home isn’t only where you grew up or where you’ve lived, and family doesn’t end with blood. And this year I want to find new homes — in new places, with new people. I want a place to stay and a place to grow, however painfully. And I saw that in the Two of Cups — in the little house on the hills behind them. It’s small, but it’s theirs.
2016 will be my year. And I hope it’ll be yours, too!
Before I start — Merry Christmas, everyone! I had a wonderful day yesterday; I spent it with my grandparents as well as my tante, the animal-loving media studies professor who gave me the tarot deck that started it all. (Technically I bought the Rider Waite-Smith deck in Singapore years before, but I made my first reading with the Introduction to Tarot kit she gave me a couple of Christmases ago.) I hope yours went wonderfully too!
This [the full moon] isn’t about being super proactive — the full moon is a time for reflection, rather than starting new things.
The new moon, where all we see in the night sky is a blank canvas ready to wax…that is the time for beginnings, plannings, new starts and proactivity. So this spread is for the ‘interim report’, half way between one new moon and the next.
Which is why, as the moon reached its fullest at approximately seven in the evening, I prepared a spread that’s fascinated me for a while: the full moon tarot spread.
I know that the only thing constant is change, but I don’t want change. I want what is.
Today I’m going to write about a boy.
He isn’t just any boy, unfortunately. Nor is he someone I’m interested in. He’s a close friend, and just a friend, but recently, after years of being teased about being together and just laughing (because of what feels like compulsory heterosexuality, but that’s a whole other story), I’ve been worried that he likes me (forgive the implausibility and the fact that I’m assuming). And the thought of it fills me with dread.
Earlier this evening he sent me a message, asking if I wanted to talk on Skype, and immediately my thoughts went into overdrive: Why? Since the time we argued at a mall a few months back — when he insisted on talking about something I didn’t want to discuss, I lost my temper, and all my senses screamed at me to just leave and not talk to him anymore because he’d breached boundaries and that was not right — every opportunity he’s taken to say hello to me makes me nervous. Not that I’ve acted on it besides avoiding him when possible. But I’ve been off-kilter, and he notices, but he doesn’t know it’s about him.
Anyway, once I calmed down a bit, I settled down, put on some Shakuhachi Water Meditation music, shuffled my Waite-Smith deck, and rolled out a Consequences spread. The question, phrased awkwardly but still so familiar (like the time in college when he’d questioned my becoming more “masculine” and “aggressive” after taking up a sport because he’d missed my preppy girliness, and I’d taken it to heart and gone to a counselor to ask what was wrong with me and my short hair, even when I knew deep inside that nothing was wrong, I was perfectly fine, just not to him):
What is bothering me about this situation?
I know it’s phrased terribly, a few words away from asking myself why I don’t like him, why I can’t just let things progress and see where they go — the Cool Girl thing to do, you know? The “right” thing to do in an American-influenced society that cries about friendzoning and girls having all the power to reject well-meaning Nice Guys.
But that’s not what I mean to do. Tarot isn’t predictive or divinatory, not to me; it just helps unearth answers from deep within you, or the person being read. I can’t read what others think, just what I feel about what they may think. So the question is focused inward, because the answer is supposed to be within me, after all.
Yesterday I realized that I hadn’t seen much of the Pentacles in my past readings, if at all. When I did my very first readings for J and M the other night, with the simple Past – Present – Future spread, their cards overflowed with Cups, J’s especially; M’s had Swords as well. I didn’t trust mine, but for the most part, my readings are full of Cups, which seem to signify relationships and family. Swords have to do with business, finance.
Today I woke up to the sound of rain and one of the coldest mornings I’d felt in a while, and immediately sat up to start what I hope will become a habit: one tarot reading a day. I tried Beth Maiden’s simple self-reading spread: three cards placed face-up, nothing fancy. And Pentacles showed up in every position, which surprised me — especially since it was my first time using the Rider-Waite deck, which I’d opened just the night before!
Interpreting the cards, from the surface
The Four of Pentacles shows a man — a king, like one in stories about Robin Hood — being weighed down by Pentacles, one on his head, one cradled in his arms, and the other two keeping his feet firmly on the ground. The card deals with wanting to possess and maintaining control; i.e., wanting to be in charge, insisting on your own way, imposing structure. More than that, it’s about blocking change — wanting things to stay normal and safe, resisting the flow (keeping Water back), refusing to see and accept change, and therefore stagnating.
The Nine of Pentacles shows a graceful lady in robes, gloves, and a coiffed hairstyle, walking through a garden with what Waite says is a falcon perched on her left hand. The card represents grace, high-mindedness, civilization, and a love for beauty while Pentacles (or coins) lay on the ground, showing how they are important, or at least ever-present, but not the be-all and end-all of existence.
The Nine of Pentacles represents discipline and self-control. The lady “enjoys her cultured life because she has mastered her baser instincts” — represented, perhaps, by the falcon, which is all instinct and impulse. “Her impulses work for her because they do not rule her. […] Sometimes the Nine of Pentacles suggests that you must show restraint and self-control if you are to achieve your best efforts.” The card lso represents self-reliance; i.e., you must trust yourself to handle the situation correctly and take matters into your own hands, if you want to have a life you truly enjoy.
The last card, Ten of Pentacles, shows a man, woman, child, and their well-mannered dogs arriving at the marketplace — which is seen in many of the other Pentacles, so the card also talks about “arrival” — and talks about how you want material success to last once you have it. It often stands for convention and maintaining the status quo. But perhaps because of the gate, it also talks about how change is unavoidable. So it’s telling you to concentrate on long-term solutions, working towards lasting solutions, and “making arrangements that will work for you far into the future.”
Interpreting the cards, beneath the surface
Today’s spread was honestly an interesting one, since yesterday I was in the most terrible of moods. I don’t handle spontaneity well; when I expect something to happen, I wait for it, and if something changes, I’m thrown off my game, completely unable to deal with it. And that’s what the Four of Pentacles showed: my always wanting to have the final say on, or at least to have influence over, decisions made, and refusing to budge from them. But insisting on “holding all the cards”, so to speak, means that you’re weighed down by them, unable to move.
The left-hand card, which represents what you need to let go of, was the Nine of Pentacles, and it instantly reminded me of my officemate M, which was the first sign — and the scariest one, to be perfectly honest — that the spread was the right one for me today. The card represented M through and through — from the woman’s long robes to the way she daintily bent her wrist — and for a moment I was horrified, thinking that it meant I’d have to let go of her… which would have made some sort of sense because of my beastly behavior yesterday.
But the Nine of Pentacles — like most Minor Arcana cards — doesn’t always represent a person, even if people are present in the image. It represents letting go of baser instincts, ruling them, and taking control yourself. (Note that this is different from the Four of Pentacles, which says that you take control of everything; the Nine, on the other hand, means that you control only yourself. Don’t let jealousy win, or rule. Let people do what they do; don’t fight against something you can’t control. Don’t let yourself be drowned by jealousy. Focus on what’s higher — what’s more important — whether it be spirituality, arts and beauty, or just a goal you have.)
The last card, signifying advice, was the Ten of Pentacles. It’s a card that talks about convention and how people who benefit from it can be bound by it, unable to see their way forward. That card represents understanding that things are going to change, and it doesn’t mean that they will right now. But as we near the end of the year — it’s December 16th right now, making us two weeks away from the end of the year — I need to focus not on my office, but on where I want to be next year.
When I returned from the UK, I suddenly became comfortable about where I am. After months of feeling burnt out, or at least close to it, I felt revived, refreshed, and ready to handle anything that came my way. Learning that my officemates suddenly understood how well I worked mollified me; and my pay increase, increased stature, and an unidentified person’s assertion that I should be promoted made me think that I could stay.
But over the past two weeks, I’ve started seeing things I thought were gone — feeling the dissatisfaction rise again, like a wave. Things aren’t bad, but I’m once again finding reasons that I shouldn’t stay. I don’t see a future in a place where my boss doesn’t appreciate me, where I can never take on a leadership position, where I’ll always feel less. And while that may happen in any place, any organization, any school, it feels wrong now. So the time has come for me to focus on what’s ahead.
Today’s spread was so fascinating, and I’m amazed by how it all fits together — how it’s all so timely. I’ve never seen the Pentacles represented so widely, entrenched so firmly, in a spread, which originally made me think that it was wrong, but it fit so well. Earth — worldly possessions, the world I know — weighs me down. It’s time to go beyond.
Reading for December 16, 2015, Wednesday, read at 6:30AM.