Monday was the spring equinox! I’ve also been thinking about Passover, which starts next month, and spring cleaning and garden bed clearing and all of the letting go and clearing out that spring inspires.
So last Sunday, after I pulled one million weeds, helped chop dead plants out of the sidewalk cracks, and cleaned my room, I did a reading for spring. Here’s the spread I created:
1. Something to keep (top left)
2. Something to remember (bottom left)
3. Something to let go (top right)
4. Something to forget (bottom right)
5. Something to invite in (far right middle)
Something to keep
Daughter of Wands. The first thing that jumped out at me in this card is the wand itself. It looks just like the quince in my front yard. I am at this very moment looking at a quince wand that is the twin of the one on the card, sitting in a jar of water on my altar! The quince is the most murderously persistent, indestructible plant I’ve ever met. It’s flexible steel with vicious thorns; a thicket that someone thought would make a pretty garden shrub. It is lovely, especially when it flowers, and it shelters birds and squirrels and lots of other critters, but it’s not a pretty little shrub. It seems to be saying, don’t let other people make you smaller than you are, don’t let anyone plant you where there’s not enough room for you to grow, and poke the shit out of anyone who won’t respect your boundaries. Be the glorious, dangerous thicket you were meant to be!
Something to remember
Son of Pentacles. Being a glorious, dangerous thicket is hard work. Figuring out where you belong, what your true shape is, and where your boundaries are—in a world that wants you to do none of those things—takes dedication and persistence. Your small, daily efforts may not be sparkly or sexy, but they are everything.
Something to let go
Four of Cups. I struggled with this one because introspection is really important to me! I think this is saying, challenge yourself to let go of some of the ratty, sad part of introspection—the isolation that isn’t serving a purpose, and the distance that keeps you from noticing opportunities for the kind of connection that will help you grow. As best you can, pay attention to what’s being offered and receive it when it’s right for you. Don’t get so wrapped up in that hard work that you miss those chances!
Something to forget
Three of Cups. This one puzzled me, not only in the context of the Four of Cups, but because I’ve been working hard to build more community in my life. But it made more sense in the context of the last card, the Two of Cups. I think the Three of Cups here means, worry less about community and more about relationships. For instance, I’ve started hosting a monthly dinner, and I notice myself worrying so much about whether it’s all coming together that I feel sort of background-frantic the whole time—even as I’m enjoying the event. But community is, at its core, relationships. So, right now... just build relationships. In the dinner party example, focus on conversations with individual people at the dinner party, and let the group stuff take care of itself.
Something to invite in
Two of Cups. One-on-one connections—new ones! New connections have felt really challenging to me lately. But I’m taking baby steps toward more connection, with a much stronger sense of who I am, how I want to be treated, what I want to receive in relationships, and what I have to offer others. This card is inviting me to take some more risks for connection’s sake. And roses—with their protective thorns (our theme is thorns!)—remind me that boundaries, and the ability to recognize and work through conflict, are essential to authentic intimacy.
Doing the hard, daily work of claiming space (always with a lens of accountability) and working with boundaries. Letting go of harmful isolation and "community building" as a an abstract concept, and instead nurturing opportunities for one-to-one, human connection. It's a lot, in a world that often feels really terrifying, but the time is now! May we work hard to learn the creativity, strength, and solidarity necessary to build a world in which all of us can grow to be everything we have the potential to be.
I feel like I should begin this post with some moon-related anecdotes after several moon-centric posts, but I am devastated to report that my moon-watching efforts last night were unsuccessful. Undaunted, I went ahead with a reading to prepare for a busy week of interviewing. I've been feeling like things have turned a corner in my job search, following a spate of interesting job postings and a few interviews that could result in me receiving wages in return for my labor, so I decided to use this Bridge spread from Little Red Tarot to help me think about where I've been and what might be next. The card positions are:
1. What you have left behind
2. The hardest lesson you learned
3. Something that helped you
4. The high point—where you are right now, looking back and looking forward
5. The next step
6. Something that will help you
7. Your destination: the new shore
Here are the cards I drew!
What you've left behind: Seven of Wands
The RWS* meaning of this card is defense against an attack. The simplest interpretation of the image in this deck a that a fox is defending its kits against an attacking badger. But I can’t help but wonder who, if anyone, is the aggressor. After all, there are more foxes than badgers. Maybe the foxes are all adults, and the badger is defending her den. Or maybe the badger had to leave her den and is trying to find a sanctuary in the foxes' territory, but the foxes can’t or won’t share space. In this standoff, it’s not clear who’s right and who’s wrong. Maybe no one is. But everyone’s upset and defensive and there aren’t enough resources to go around. All the energy and creativity is focused on the standoff. This type of conflict all too familiar.
The hardest lesson you learned: Queen of Wands
Energy has limits. The Queen has mastered their element of fire, of energy and creativity, in their internal world. Part of that mastery is knowing the limits of the internal store of energy, exactly what it can and cannot do, and how to work within that framework. In this transition, I’ve learned a lot about my energy, and I’ve had to make some tough decisions to step away from things that take more than I’m willing to give. By accepting my limits, I can make better choices about how to focus my energy, and get the most out of what I have.
Something that helped you: The Empress
The Empress has been my guide card for navigating burnout and this transition. They are all about nurturing and creating and birthing, in the inner world as well as the outer world. Deciding to take myself seriously enough to put substantial energy into caring for myself, instead of pouring all of my energy into others to the point of burnout, has definitely helped me in this transition.
It’s also interesting to me that, in this deck, the Empress standing on the same wooden arch as appears in the Four of Wands. The Empress is typically associated with earth, not fire, but the Empress is also strongly associated with birth—which is pretty darn creative—and creativity is a major facet of fire/wands. Thus, if there is a wands association with the Empress, the entire first half of the bridge is wands. One of the things I’ve learned in this transition is that I tend to get out of balance in favor of wands and swords, and that I need to bring more cups and pentacles into the mix, which is exactly what the second half of the bridge is composed of!
Where you are now: Ace of Cups
This ace indicates a new stage of connecting with feeling and emotion. I’ve been working hard to reconnect with my emotional self rather than being constantly stuck in my head or distracting myself by being on the go. Well—it worked. Sometimes it feels like it worked a little too well! I have a lot of new skills to learn, but it’s growth and it’s progress and I’m grateful for it.
The next step: Six of Cups
As a Serious Tarot Person, I feel like I should say this card is telling me to be conscious of the balance of giving and receiving in my life, and to examine my ideas about wealth and poverty, but what’s true is that when I looked at this card I couldn’t stop laughing. Like the green plant amidst the brambles, I am small and also mighty and I am ready, universe, to accept a glorious waterfall of cash.
Something that will help you: Seven of Cups
This card is about illusions and choices, and discerning between dreams and reality. One person seems to be a dreamer, determined to get to the seemingly inaccessible sky-tree-castle-thing, even though there are two other castles that seem like more realistic goals. The other person looks more down-to-earth and is consulting… a map? Or perhaps it's instructions for how to build a helicopter? This card is saying, be wary of illusions when making choices—but don’t be too quick to assume you know what’s going on. Access your analytical self and your dreamy, imaginative self when making choices, and look for opportunities to engage both aspects of yourself in your decision.
Your destination: Judgement
This is the penultimate card of the Major Arcana, and a major here indicates that the destination will involve overarching life themes. A winged being plays a trumpet, calling up a rush of ghosts and butterflies from a field of poppies. I think this means, this transition has felt in some ways like a death, but death is always followed by rebirth, and a day is coming when you will feel that you’ve come back to life, that you have been transformed, and you will be surrounded by beauty.
*RWS is Rider-Waite-Smith, which is the 20th century deck that most modern decks are based on. There are several other major systems.