The Youth of Swords holds her sword aloft like a maiden warrior waiting to cut through the deceit and deception that surround her. She is clear eyed and trusts that her judgment and intellect, guided by the divine, will help her through all challenges. She has a youth’s simple faith and trust that the world is ultimately a good place and the righteous and just will triumph. The Youth of Swords still believes there is honor in battle and that war serves a moral purpose.
The 10 of Swords shows a group of garbed figures leaving a room, swords or knives held triumphantly aloft. A bloody body lies at the foot of an overturned chair. He has apparently been slain by the victorious crowd. According to James Ricklef, this image is inspired by The Death of Caesar by Jean Leon Jerome. Am I Caesar, feeling stabbed in the back and slain? Or am I a member of the crowd, victorious and determined to overthrow a perceived tyrant?
Actually I think the message of these cards is a bit reversed. I think what they’re telling me is that in order to achieve what James Ricklef calls “the beginner mind” I need to slay that overly confident, tyrannical side of myself. I need to leave it behind and let myself reconnect to the simple, child-like openness to possibilities and unlimited potential that surrounds me. I need to cut away the cynical and allow the hopeful and believing side of my nature to expand and embrace it all.
Fascinating! I think maybe things are starting to turn around a bit for me. Maybe this is what the cards were trying to tell me. I need to share my story, tell my truth to others. It’s time to explore the inner me, the hidden me and my unique and different perspective on the world.
There is something very powerful and empowering about these two cards in response to this question. They are both Major Arcana which to me suggests this is has the potential to be a major, life-altering event for me. If nothing else it can help shift my perceptions in a way so that I start to consider the value I can bring to whatever endeavors I pursue.
The High Priestess shows me that I have the ability to tap into my deepest self, my true nature. I can re-connect with my instinctual side and learn how to channel that in a way to benefit me and others. I love the image of the High Priestess walking in a woodland surrounded by wild creatures. She is part of this natural landscape. She is the guide, the interpreter between human’s wild nature and our civilized side. She can help us reconnect with our wilder, more instinctual selves but only if we are truly ready for it. I have often had a resistance to the High Priestess and now I think that might be due to the fact that I wasn’t ready to work with her energy. Perhaps now I am ready.
The Lone Man with his closed eyes and emptying purse reinforces that sense of being in tune with one’s deepest self, one’s wild essence. He too is framed by a natural landscape with various wildlife visible. His eyes are closed so he cannot see the butterfly, bird or hart but I’m sure he senses them. His eyes may be closed but his other senses are more open and aware.
The combination of these two cards tells me that I need to open myself up to exploring my other senses, getting more in-tune with my intuitive side. I am very left-brained and that served me well up to this point. Now it’s time to let the right-brain come out to play. I have to be willing to let go of the need for perfection or being able to objectively verify my experience or knowledge. It’s time to learn to trust my instincts and listen to that inner voice. Perhaps once I am able to feel more confidence in this area I can help other similarly challenge left-brained thinkers explore this path too. That’s the story I need to share.
I got this question from the lovely Sasha Graham (the fabulous Tarot Diva) whose new book 365 Tarot Spreads is due out in May. I find it interesting that these two cards seem to be different resonances of the same energy. The Close (or Death) is a card of transformation, endings and beginnings and letting go. The 10 of Swords offer a similar message – it’s time to lay down the arms and give up the battle. Once we’ve released the urge to cling to the fight we may find that there are new opportunities opening to us.
On a purely practical level there are things I can’t and won’t release right now (and I’m no assuming I need to do so). Caring for while in-laws (while sometimes thankless, relentless and frustrating) is non-negotiable. I get the sense these cards are speaking to me of releasing an outworn and useless mindset, letting go of that damn inner critic that won’t shut up and starting a new way of thinking about myself and this situation.
Sometimes I can be a bit glib about things like this but I truly believe we have the power to create our own fate. In my core I know that if I only focus on negative aspects of my life that’s the energy I will keep attracting. If I focus on what I want to bring into my life I can do that as long as I truly believe. Wishful thinking is real if I believe it’s real.
Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day miseries that drain and exhaust me. I won’t blow smoke up anyone’s butt (least of all my own) about how crushing and relentless this caregiving stuff can be. However I refuse to let it crush my spirit. I want to embrace the learning opportunity this provides even if I would prefer to forego the lesson.
Oh brother – this is quite a positive message isn’t it? I’m not sure what’s going on with this deck but the messages it’s been giving me are not exactly encouraging. Of course I suppose it’s in the way that you view things too.
The 3 of Swords might refer to a sense of betrayal or feeling as though you’ve been stabbed in the back. Or perhaps what’s it reminding me is that even when I feel that sense of betrayal and pain it is my choice to wallow in it. It is my choice to decide to let it go and move forward with my life. This has been a continual theme in my life and Tarot readings over the last few years.
In this instance I think it refers to the fact that I feel betrayed by my in-laws. Hubby and I are caring for the mom-in-law and brother-in-law with no assistance from anyone else in the family. There is another brother and two nephews/grandsons who spent their childhood with the family every summer for years (their dad died in the late 70s). I don’t expect them to help in caring for the mom- and brother-in-law but it would be nice if they visited or even called once in a while to see that we’re all alive. My hubby carries a deep and abiding anger towards them that will never go away. To him what they’ve done is unforgivable. I’m simply disgusted with them and can see no time in the future when I will want them to be part of my life.
The 10 of Rods is the burden I carry. It’s the responsibility I feel to family and the obligation I feel to ensure they are cared for at home as long as possible. In addition I still have a number of other burdens that need tending: bills to pay and home repairs to make. It’s almost impossible to work outside the home and care for the in-laws. I’m not sure what we’re going to do. I think the cards are trying to tell me that obsessing about these worries won’t make them go away and it won’t lighten them. Instead I need to find other interests and activities that will help me focus on more fun and positive things. Not easy but it’s worth a try.
The 5 of Wands once again. I drew this at least twice while working with my previous deck (Book of Shadows As Below). In fact I’m pretty sure I drew the 4 of Cauldrons at least once with that deck too. Obviously these two cards have a message for me that I either haven’t acknowledged or haven’t acted upon.
On level the 5 of Wands speaks to me of wasting energy in a pointless battle. It’s about scuffles that aren’t important and don’t really matter. It just siphons off energy that can be used more productively and more beneficially. The 4 of Cauldrons shows me two people drowning their unhappiness in a surplus of liquid forgetfulness. Their unhappiness and dissatisfaction with their lives is almost palpable although it’s also clear they intend to take no action that might change this.
Both these cards are reversed in this reading which suggests I’m not addressing these issues myself. I believe they connect to the current situation I’m living as caregiver to my in-laws. On some level I am so angry about this that I cannot accurately describe how I feel. My life has been put on hold and I feel as though they are vampires siphoning off my energy and essence. I am nothing, no one. I am merely the one who cleans them, feeds them and makes sure they’re safe. This does not even have the benefits rearing a child might because there is no growth, no improvement. It’s simply a slow, numbing march towards death.
Well-meaning friends and family compliment me on how selfless I am to do this. I don’t feel selfless, I feel resentful and pissed off. I am doing this because I feel it is the moral, ethical, “right” thing to do. It might not be the case for everyone but it is for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t hate it sometimes. I feel trapped and suffocated. I think this is reflected by the 5 of Wands reversed. I am struggling against a situation I cannot change (granted it is my decision but that doesn’t make it easy or fun). It also reinforces the fact that I need to find a creative outlet for this energy before it becomes toxic.
The 4 of Cauldrons reversed shows the inevitable progression if I don’t make some changes. I’ll become increasingly unhappy and dissatisfied; drowning my sorrows in junk food or other unhealthy behaviors. I think I’m also tired of pretending I okay with this situation. I’m no martyr or saint. I’m just a poor shlub doing what I think is right, even if I hate it.
How ironic – The Sun is hidden from me on a cloudy day. That makes sense. Of course I’m not referring to what I literally cannot see right now. On a figurative, spiritual level I think The Sun reversed is telling me that what I cannot see in y life right now is a chance to shine; my turn in the sun. I can’t see how I can gain recognition and the adulation and admiration of others (yes, it may be rather shallow but I’m being honest about it). I am by nature a solar creature. I’ve always identified more with the sun’s energies than with the moons (although I do prefer nighttime to daytime).
When I was younger and familiar only with Greco-Roman myths, I described myself as a “father’s daughter” type because that was the only paradigm I knew. As I learned more about other pantheons and find myself establishing relationships with Irish and Norse deities, I came to realize the sun is see as feminine in these cultures. That makes more sense to me. In generations past the mother did not leave the children. She was a constant presence in their lives, like the sun. The father was the one who would go off – to hunt, to work, to war. His presence was more intangible and less clearly defined. His energies and influences more vague and nebulous like the moon’s. The father was and could be the light that made us feel safe in the dark while the mother was the brilliant radiance and warmth that surrounded us with constant love. It’s funny, despite my past issues in my relationship with my mother I always knew she loved me and wanted me to succeed.
The Page of Rods symbolizes me and how I need to find new ways to express my fiery, creative energy. I think he is the solution to the cloudy sunshine in my life. He is showing me that I need to re-learn how to feel validated and successful. I cannot count on being recognized by external sources so I need to find internal ways to fulfill that need. He’s reminding me that I need to continue on this path even when I’m not sure I’ll find what I seek. If I give up now I’ll never find the answers I seek.
The World reversed is a puzzlement to me. The image shows a nude woman holding her breasts while a spray of stars spurts out to nourish all the life around her. She is framed by a mantle of deep blue and stars, the symbols of the four elements decorate the corners. She is pale and luminous; her coloring the pale reflective light of the moon.
The Close (or Death) displays various symbols of death and transition – the Grim Reaper, an owl, a death’s head moth even an infant. Combined they offer the message that change is inevitable no matter how hard we resist.
Looking at the two of these together I am struck by the fact that The World reversed suggests that my role as the nurturer and being “the world” to two family members may be reaching an end. I’m not sure if The Close refers to a literal or figurative ending (time will tell) but what I do realize is that it’s also suggesting a change in mindset.
Reality is that no matter how dependent the in-laws may be on me, I’m not their world and don’t want to be. In fact I don’t ever want to be the world to anyone. It’s much too stressful to have someone rely on me that much.. It might be time for me to start considering options and planning for changes. As much as I hate change, I also realize it’s an inevitable as the dawn.
The images on these cards spoke to me. The Knight of Swords shows a focused, somewhat intent blonde woman writing while sylphs dance about her. I realize that her message to me is that I need to get back to writing. When I was younger, writing was one of my passions in life. A semester of English composition in college shook my faith in my writing skills and I fell away from it. In recent years I have begun writing a bit by maintaining my blog but I’m beginning to realize that I need to write again. It doesn’t have to be something I share with anyone else but I need to express myself. I need to find a creative outlet and writing is that outlet for me.
The King of Pentacles is reminding me that I can have it all – personal satisfaction and prosperity, if I believe in myself and work to manifest it in my life. I think it’s also showing that expressing my creative side is the key to achieving this prosperity.
These cards seem to be telling me that I need to let go of my resistance and fear. I need to let go of the self-doubts that bubbled up during that English comp class and haven’t gone away. I need to embrace writing for the sake of writing not for public approbation. I need to do this for me. Where it might lead is irrelevant. What’s important is what it can do for me now. Otherwise I’m denying myself a creative outlet and a sense of satisfaction and joy.
The Tower reversed speaks to me on two levels. According to the LWB, when reversed The Tower symbolizes “trying to avoid something by denial or delay leading to increased turmoil”. Yeah, that sounds about right. I’m a world class procrastinator even when I know it’s pointless and self-defeating. The Tower is telling me that this tactic is pointless and making the situation worse than it needs to be. It is also reminding me that I am blowing things out of proportion and making this a bigger deal than it needs to be. Instead of trying to fight off the inevitable I need to find ways to make the changes I know are necessary to achieve this goal.
The 4 of Cups reversed suggests”wallowing in ennui or self-pity”. Once again a direct hit right on the nose. I have felt enveloped in ennui lately and the pity party has been never-ending. It’s not that I don’t have some legitimate reason for the pity party but I’m boring myself. Whining about it won’t change anything and just exhausts me.
At the same time I need to acknowledge that I have a right to be frustrated and angry about things. Getting stuck in that frustrating and anger and allowing it to push me into unhealthy behavior is pointless. All it does is make me feel physically and mentally crappy which just adds to the unhappiness.
I know that I have a strong addiction for sweets and carbs. I also know that I feel infinitely better when I don’t give in to these cravings. I have found substitutions that might satisfy these cravings and allow me to feel healthier but I’ve been putting off actually making any of them. I need to stop making this into a project and just do it. One thing at a time, one change at a time is all it will take to improve this situation. It’s time to stop wallowing in the ennui.
So, my relationship with my body has been tolerant at best and downright chilly at its worst. I have somehow managed to disconnect myself from my body. My physical self does not seem part of my spiritual self. There are a variety of reasons for this, none of which I’ll go into here, but I can’t say I blame this disconnect on pop culture, Catholicism or any of the other pet bugaboos. Yes, I played with Barbies growing up, in fact I still do, and I never felt the urge to look like Barbie. I just wanted her exciting, jet set lifestyle.
Anyway, I am starting to realize that my neglect of my body is catching up to me (oh who am I kidding it caught up to me a long time ago). I can’t ignore it anymore and it’s starting to get very pissy about my neglect. New things are starting to act up. My body seems to have decided that it will up the ante and find new ways to misbehave to try to get my attention. So I realized I need to try to reestablish the lines of communication with my body.
This is the second time since I began using this deck that I’ve drawn both these cards. They obviously have a deeper message for me and I’ll have to explore that at a later date. Right now I want to hear what they say about my question. The 10 of Swords reversed says I’m “reliving heartache by refusing to let go” and the 9 of Wands reversed shouts that I’m “giving up too soon” (according to the LWB). I get it – there are still unresolved issues I need to work on and until I can reach some detente about them I’m subsuming my heartache by indulging in behavior that hurts my body. I also need to try sticking with the plans I have made. I’m pretty good at making plans but lately I’ve been lousy on follow through. I let the least little thing derail my efforts and use my stressful responsibilities as an excuse to just give up.
I don’t want to be a quitter and I don’t want to keep reliving things that cause me to engage in unhealthy behaviors. I need to start loving my body. I need to stop beating myself up about past events. And I need to just take those baby steps to create a healthier and happier life for myself. I can do it if I stop focusing on how louse things are and how worthless I am. If I want to manifest something better than that’s where my focus needs to be.