Open your eyes to the Four of Cups

This is the third time in a row, at the very least, that I’ve drawn a card that I used before for a Daily Draw. Is the Universe trying to tell me something? That I should understand the cards before using them in my own readings? Haha!

The Four of Cups shows a man in deep thought beneath a tree in summer, contemplating three Cups in front of him. However, he’s so intent on the Cups before him that he doesn’t notice the fourth Cup being handed to him — the opportunities he’s being presented with.

The Four of Cups represents self-absorption, thinking in circles, and overthinking. It’s being so preoccupied by the earthly world or your current situation that you turn a blind eye to opportunities and potential.

Reversed, the Four of Cups represents finding your way out of a period of apathy or depression; slowly beginning to open yourself up to opportunities again; and using what you’ve learned through introspection in real life.

Actions to Take

When I see this card, it’s time for me to look up, see the Cup that’s being offered to me, and reengage with the world. Because one of my weaknesses is being too introverted. I rarely need to reminded of the fact that I need Me Time!

What I do need to remember is that there’s a world beyond me. And that world is as important as the world within… and it can be just as amazing if you give it the chance.

Daily draw for January 3, Sunday, drawn at 9:00AM.

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Breaking free from the Eight of Swords

Today I drew the Eight of Swords. It shows a woman in red, on a muddy clay wasteland. She’s blindfolded, bound in rope, and surrounded by swords. Behind her is a river and beyond that is a castle on a hill. Is she a damsel in distress? Or simply a woman taken from where she feels most at home?

The Eight of Swords represents feeling trapped. Imprisoned by a fence of swords, blindfolded, and bound, she can’t even leave the place where she’s been trapped for hours, maybe even days. She knows that they’re surrounding her but doesn’t know how many there are; perhaps she collided into some swords in her first attempt at escaping but doesn’t want to risk getting cut on the blades again. So she isn’t testing her boundaries. Playing it safe, as it were.

But at the same time, I’ve noticed that her ropes have loosened, and she seems close to breaking free. Soon she can reach up, remove the blindfold, and finally see again. She’s moments away from freedom!

That said, I feel like the Eight of Swords is about being trapped in a hopeless situation — on the surface. That’s certainly what I thought the first time I saw it.

But what I’ve seen since is that it represents opening one’s eyes to the truth, regaining control of a desperate situation, and breaking free. And honestly,  I like making positive readings for what look like negative cards. Can I do this more often?

Daily draw for January 2, Saturday, drawn at 9:00AM.

The grief of the Five of Cups

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The Five of Cups used to give me a sense of foreboding. A long dark figure with his head bowed, three Cups overturned on the road before him, the Five of Cups is a universal expression of grief.

The Five of Cups is about being so upset or devastated by loss that you think it’s the end of you — not realizing that you can start again, lighter and freer.

Bunning says,

The Five of Cups refers to that time when the pain of a loss is most acute. This man is looking only at the overturned cups in front of him. For now, he cannot acknowledge the two cups that are still standing. Later, when he has healed somewhat, he will be able to see all that remains.

Reversed, the Five of Cups is about

  • Recovering from the past, not letting it linger in your mind as it so obviously could
  • Appreciating lessons learned, and learning to go on again

But it could also mean

  • Being trapped in the past
  • Not wanting to let go of the past (or using it as an excuse

Either way, it brings forth change. It necessitates change. For all the pain and loss the situation brings, the Five of Cups jumpstarts something better.

Reflection

Throughout the day I tried to find situations that made me think of the Five of Cups, but I found nothing in my immediate vicinity. (That’s the problem with holidays, I guess; everyone stays home! Human interaction is limited!) But I found the Five of Cups anyway, while I was calculating my year card.

I’ve been trying to keep heavy emotions out of my tarot blog, but when I wrote about my goals for the year, and how much I wanted the change that Death promised, I had to talk about why I wanted it so much.

I didn’t explain the situation well enough — I didn’t want to give it more attention or power than it required — but giving a glimpse into it illuminated how strongly I cling to the past — how I let it define me.

I need to let go of the past and remember that I can learn from it. That starting again is as easy as picking the Cups up again and continuing on my way.

Daily draw for New Year’s Day, Friday, drawn at 9:00AM.

The burden of productivity: The Ten of Wands

It looks like I’ve been on a roll in getting cards I’ve drawn before during my Daily Draw — first the Three of Cups, then the Ten of Pentacles, and now this? But drawing cards you’ve used before means that now you can really look at them and think about what they mean, without the influences of surrounding cards.

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The Ten of Wands shows a page — or a young man, anyway — approaching the center of town. He’s hunched over, carrying ten wands, all in bloom, in his arms — and they’re so long and heavy that it’s taking all he has to carry them. And the thing is, he can’t even see! He’s too busy carrying the wands to see where he’s going. Perhaps he can’t even peek through them to notice that he’s going too far.

My gut feel is that the Ten of Wands represents being in a creative situation but feeling stuck precisely because of how many choices they are. Too much freedom for you to execute a plan means the onus is on you, after all; if you can’t get it right you have no one to blame but yourself!

It’s like a client coming into a meeting before a major pitch, giving you the most basic brief, then setting you free. On one hand: Unbridled creativity! The chance to try new forms of media! Experimentation with form and tone of voice! But also — if you miss the mark, you miss completely. And they’ll shake their head at your presentation, see you out, and once you return you’ll sigh and plunk your head on your desk, defeated.

The Ten of Wands’ keywords are overextending, burdens, and struggle. You might be working too hard on one project — too much responsibility on your shoulders, whether you volunteered or not — or you might simply be putting all your focus on your job, to the point that you see yourself as your job, that you introduce yourself, “Hi, I’m Vera, and I work in advertising.” I’m guilty of that, personally; I do it mostly because I’m proud, but it isn’t good to define yourself solely by your contributions to the workforce, or to only be able to talk about work when you see someone again for the first time. They don’t want to know about your workplace. They want to know how you are. And that means everything about you.

The Ten of Wands means that life will be more difficult for a while — but you can’t go on that way forever. Be kind to yourself. You need to rest, not because you need to perform at your best, but because you need it. Don’t let life push you around. Put those Wands down, take a rest, then stretch and pick them up again. But only one at a time. Or put them in a knapsack and compartmentalize. Because you’re more than what you do. You always have been.

Daily draw for December 25, Friday (Christmas Day!), drawn at 7:15AM.

We’ve made it: The Ten of Pentacles

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See the resemblance? Cate Blanchett as Carol Aird in Carol (2015)

When I see the Ten of Pentacles, I think of Carol. Blonde hair, long neck, red robes, a husband and child in her orbit — she’s confident, self-possessed, and aware of her stature in life. In the card, standing in the middle of the marketplace, she looks at her husband, but you can’t tell if she’s smiling — is it a Mona Lisa smile, perhaps? Meanwhile, a white dog with a collar is being petted by the child, while a collarless white dog sits obediently next to an old man in colored robes.

The Ten of Pentacles is about material wealth — finally achieving your dreams and feeling content, fulfilled, and comfortable.

It represents being stable enough to have others relying on you, whether they be your parents, grandparents, or children, and being able to look back with satisfaction at all you’ve achieved.

Fat cats are rarely radicals; they love tradition and the tried-and-true.

Bunning calls the Ten of Pentacles the “fat cat” card because of the “aura of prosperity that surrounds wealthy men and women” — and as a side note, they are often those who have benefited from the status quo. As she points out, “Fat cats are rarely radicals; they love tradition and the tried-and-true,” and most of the time that is the case; trailblazing entrepreneurs often become successful precisely because they work within an established system.

If you’re on the other side of the fence — or of the gate above them, i.e., not having reached this state of having all you need — now is the time to think long-term to reach the comfort of the Ten of Pentacles. Because you can be the fat cat. You just have to work for it a bit.

P.S. I know the plot of Carol is precisely that she’s unhappy, despite all her wealth and her “secure” family situation, but that’s a reading for another time. Ten of Pentacles in reverse, perhaps?

Daily draw for December 24, 2015, Thursday, drawn at 9:00AM.

The warm embrace of the Three of Cups

When you’re learning tarot, one of the most useful things to do is to do a daily draw. Every day, shuffle and cut your deck, draw one card — just one — and get to know it.

While I was looking for a guide post — What exactly does the usual daily draw look like, anyway? — I clicked on Beth’s Three of Cups post (and another one!), smiled at the familiarity of it, and shuffled my deck. With the sounds of a babbling brook in the background, I breathed, drew a card, and saw — the Three of Cups. Was it coincidence, fate, of the magic of the Cups at work?

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THREE OF CUPS

The Three of Cups shows three women in flowing robes: one in pure red, the other in pure white, the last a mix of the two, with a red dress and white skirts, dancing, three Cups held aloft between them. At their feet are fruits and vines — pumpkins, grapes, thin leaves — suggesting autumn, or harvest season. In the far-off distance is the uncolored outline of a bare tree.

The card seems to talk about joy and celebration with the people closest to you, as well as the arrival of good things. When I checked with Bunning, I learned that true enough, the Three of Cups is about exuberance, friendship, and the spirit of community. And of the three cards in the tarot that focus on the group, the Three of Cups focuses on emotions (and therefore also refers to psychological or emotional support, including counseling).

When you see the Three of Cups, examine the relationships within a group, reach out to give or receive help, and work to strengthen relationships and find joy in them.

This card popped up in my reading with Kayleigh Jean, and like for the other cards, she made me describe it as if she’d never seen it before. And as I did, I smiled — seeing cards with women on them makes them seem so much more approachable, more applicable, and it became the first of three: the Three of Cups, the Queen of Cups, and Strength! (It’s one of the reasons, in fact, that I want my next active deck to be non-gender related, like the absolutely gorgeous The Wild Unknown Tarot, or female-oriented, like The Dreaming Way Tarot.)

There’s something about the friendship of women that gives you strength in the darkest days as well. Like the Queen of Cups, the Three of Cups brings me comfort and hope, and I hope to see it more often in the future!

Daily draw for December 21, 2015, Monday, read at 6:00AM.