Hello, ya’ll! I know it’s been a bit of time. I’m sorry I haven’t had much to say here, but life has been busy and really good. And I figured I should post something before the new moon on Wednesday. So, here we are.
I have been learning to read tarot cards. Maybe as part of my witchy skillz, but maybe just because I find them a fascinating divination tool. Probably both. In any case, I’m learning a lot and having a lot of fun with it.
In the past I have used my iPod as a tool for divination. You can read about that in this post. And while you may find that weird or funny, it worked well for me for years. In talking with a spiritual guide, she said there was an old Greek divination practice of asking yourself a question that needed solving, and then heading to the marketplace for the day, noticing if there were any pieces of conversations you were drawn to, or words you heard repeatedly, perhaps sentences that seemed insightful to the question. And in that way, you found clues to your answer. I think my iPod oracle is sort of like that.
So, as I’ve been learning the tarot I sometimes check in with both tools- asking the same question- and seeing what the results are, how they differ from one another, and how they differ from the actual outcome. It’s kinda cool to watch and learn from.
I also sometimes work with oracle cards, which are not like tarot at all, but are a deck of cards with archetypal images that share some bit of truth to help guide you. There are literally hundreds of oracle decks which cover just about any topic you can think of: plant medicine, angels, the great mother, animals, feminism, crystals. Pick your pleasure, there is a deck of oracle cards for you. But they are not like tarot, which is a very particular set of cards with meanings that have not changed over the years. I like the power that resides in having millions of humans invest their energy in the tarot cards over the hundreds of years they have been around.
So, anyway…in my personal work, I draw one card from a very typical tarot deck (called the Rider-Waite deck). This deck I use for ‘daily’ kinds of questions. The cards feel very much like daily tools for asking and answering questions, seeking guidance, and just hanging with the energy of general life.
One day last week I drew the Five of Swords, reversed (when they show upside down, it’s called a ‘reversal’). I don’t typically use the cards as hard and fast rules about guidance or somehow knowing what’s ahead. They are more like energies I should be aware of, or be prepared to use, during that day. Sometimes it is totally spot on, and sometimes the card is only vaguely related to what happened. I think this is just because the tarot and I are getting acquainted. I hope the guidance will become clearer as time goes on.
Five of Swords, reversed.
The Five of Swords, reversed is a reminder to step away from the conflict and drama; to accept loss with grace; and sometimes to understand that “all lies come out into the open.” For me, this was clear guidance to lay some groundwork on preparing my friends and family for my upcoming book. Two weeks ago I was granted a trademark on the phrase, “The Sex Surge” and my book should be coming out in late Oct/early Nov this year. And while I’ve not lied about things, I haven’t always told the whole truth, and now it’s definitely time to do that (I’ve had practice recently. The hubs got the whole, final download about 40s guy – there were 3 things I left out- and all the writing and emotions about 20s Guy. We had some things to discuss, but it all worked out well- see below). Knowing the truth is what actually protects our loved ones from harm.
So, you see how the tarot could be used as a guidance or divination system. Of course, sometimes what we perceive as ‘divination’ is also just us looking for confirmation of what we believe (called ‘confirmation bias’). I think that working with divination systems also requires you to have good self-awareness (so you’re less likely to bullshit yourself) and a connection with your own intuition or internal way of knowing.
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In my practice I also use other decks for deeper questions or broader time ranges. For instance, last week I pulled this set of cards. Two are from The Wild Unknown tarot and two are from the Inner Hue oracle deck (which I like because it uses archetypal images and all of the chakras).
Ace of Swords, Two of Pentacles, Abundance, and Healer.
The Ace of Swords is about letting truth lead the way (interesting to be coupled with the Five of Swords, reversed); being courageous and assertive. The Two of Pentacles is about weighing our options, making comparisons, and getting a handle on things while remaining very flexible. The Abundance card is about…abundance, but also just being open, light, and receptive. Then, the Healer card- also very obvious to it’s meaning, but it also felt like a grounding of that energy within myself.
I really had no sense of what this meant, but I trusted that there was guidance in it. Turns out it was exactly what happened last week. I let truth, my truth, the Truth, lead the way in some places I wasn’t opening up to. Into Tuesday and Wednesday I was dealing with work stuff and balancing a schedule that would be chaotic by week’s end. Thursday I figured out how to slightly re-orient my business to make it more profitable. And Friday I spent doing a lot of healing work through clarifying words and concepts and making space for all shades of mental health.
So! Super cool that the cards were kind of showing me the layout for the week. Now, as stated, I don’t know that it always goes this well, but it was interesting to watch the week unfold and see how the cards related to the events. Other weeks, I’m sure, won’t be as clear, but it was cool to have this one just work.
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In comparison to all this, on Saturday I set my indoor bike trainer up, got on my bike, put my earphones in and said, “Please just give me whatever guidance you have.” I hit ‘shuffle’ and started to pedal. This is what I got:
I Like Me Better by Lauv
I Hate Myself For Lovin’ You by Joan Jett and the Black Hearts
So, this is obviously about 20s Guy. I Like Me Better is his song in my energetic dictionary. I have no idea whether I Hate Myself is to be taken literally or just some piece I missed or what (not that I love him or hate myself for any of it; I think this is about him). What’s also curious is that 20s Guy has been gone for 6 or 8 weeks now. I sometimes think he comes around in stealth mode, but I don’t know enough about him to say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ on what I see. So, this is very weird that I should be getting guidance on anything about him.
Immediately after this was:
No Envy, No Fear by Joshua Radin
All The Right Moves by OneRepublic
Also weird because No Envy, No Fear is a song I associate with 40s Guy. It’s a very old energy I used to sense he was capable of, but now I know he’s not. (He’s a terrible kind of human: he is in pain, and he causes others great pain, because he refuses to deal with his pain. And he knows it.) The second song has a super clear meaning to me because it’s about a particular aspect of the place we used to work together. So, I think this is a message about his work and his feelings for it. (I called him out on something a few weeks ago and since then it’s been very interesting to watch is behavior; he’s playing games he doesn’t understand and it’s kind of funny.)
[Complete aside but interesting here: one thing I have learned from 20s Guy and 40s Guy and a lot of the married, hetero dudes I know is that once a guy is satisfied in his relationships, he doesn’t seem to bother other women. I have sent much good juju to 20s Guy that he would either find his person or be put on the path to her; I hope his absence means it worked. 40s Guy is still unhappy, I would guess, based on his behavior. If he was happy, he would be focused elsewhere, he wouldn’t give a shit about bugging me. Human hetero men are so weird and so interesting.]
Just Like a Chap by Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer
Too Lost in You by the Sugababes
Crack the Shutters by Snow Patrol
Ah, these are all about my husband. Just Like a Chap is most definitely a song I associate with him and only him*. The other two are relevant to our relationship (Crack the Shutters is one of my favorite, playful love songs; totally reminds me of our first, very poor, years together).
So, this is the ‘guidance’ my iPod gave me. Because of what the guidance was about my husband- either pointing towards how he’s feeling about me or towards more love and depth in our relationship- I suspect that the other songs have something to do with my relationship with those dudes. Maybe it’s also just simply an indication of where they are at, how their lives are going. I don’t know, but I’m willing to learn by listening to this energy.
In cases like these, I tend to let things play out and see what happens. I’m not making any big or definite decisions based on what I’ve been given for guidance. If I was concerned about any of this, I would ask the cards or the Ipod a more specific question and see what came up (I’d probably also do it over a series of days to see how things averaged out). I have also wondered if the iPod is slightly less effective than it used to be because I’m hanging out with the tarot cards now. Shifting connection and energies isn’t always a clean process.
Learning to read tarot cards, their guidance, has been a fun experiment so far. I will definitely keep going with it. The tarot cards are really just a symbolic map through the Hero’s Journey (or, Life), and I like that idea. My iPod has a lot of variety, but it doesn’t have a specific map like the tarot does. (But maybe that’s something to play with, as well- finding a song for each tarot card. Ack! Fun! Imma do that!) I hope that with time and practice I will get better at reading the cards, their energy, and sussing out what that all means in practical terms. Until then, I’m still part science and part woo woo.
Hope you’re doing well, fellow travelers. See you again Wednesday.
Joanna :: xoxo
*’Chap’ is a sub-culture that enjoys a return to some of the more refined times. You can read Gustav Temple’s How To Be Chap, if you’d like to know more. It mostly involves a lot of tweed and putting it together in well-curated outfits. The Chap Olympiad is also fun to look at.