I have always seen this particular version of The Lovers being super negative about romantic relationships. They seem to be bloodied with conflict and entangled and masking their true intentions and trying desperately to get free.
But now I look at it and wonder—what if it’s not their blood? What if it’s the blood of their enemies?
But seriously, what if the blood represents all of the trauma and pain of trying to be a person in this world, and these two people are facing that together?
Maybe they are allowing their past hurts to polish and strengthen them. Maybe they are weaving their bodies, their material conditions, their tangible care together. Maybe the crossed fingers aren’t a lie, but hope for good luck, because they know their labor and connection may not be enough to sustain their relationship--that life will keep happening. Maybe the scissors are a commitment to maintaining their individuality in the midst of deep connection; a promise to choose themselves while also choosing each other.
"love--romantic, familial, political, communal--all of it is messy and risky and full of possibility. how is love transforming you?" -tiny lantern tarot
At the bottom of the card, their hair is like tree roots; their connection digging deep into the earth and sustaining them.
I had a job interview yesterday and I was pretty wound up about it, so I pulled a card for it. I was sure I was going to get The Fool, because my life is 100% Fool right now. 100%, y’all!
Instead I got the Two of Stones (picture below), and felt a little dizzy because it was too real.
“Prepare for a gush of changes. Ground yourself without becoming stuck. Move, glide, dance, and spin from your core.” ~Slow Holler Tarot
This Two is all about balancing, about finding a space of quiet equilibrium in a fluid situation that feels a little bit dangerous. Like you climbed up really high and now you are looking down and wondering what the fuck you’re supposed to do now and you’re perfectly balanced between exhilaration and oh shit, and like, there you are.
“The Two of Stones asks you the channel the grounded, stable energy of the Ace and apply it to situations that may be highly dynamic or unstable.” ~Slow Holler Tarot
Two weeks ago, my grandmother died. I got the news in a text, about five seconds after I got a heart-fluttery text from someone I love, and I was like, this is life. This is what it is: balancing between love and death and sweetness and grief. The space of groundedness is being able to accept that and to be here for it, even when it feels like it’s going to crush you--it's knowing you'll be able to put yourself back together if (when) you break.
I pulled two more cards face up:
The Ace of Stones, a big plinth of heavy stone surrounded by water, aka Feelings, to remind me of what it feels like to be grounded in the midst of it all.
And The Fool, for being at the beginning of a new stage, for courage in a space of ambiguity and fluidity and uncertainty, and for leaping, because now you know the truth: you were never fragile.
“It’s okay that you aren’t prepared; you’re ready. Go!” ~Tiny Lantern Tarot
Slow Holler Tarot
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 have been in a tizzy for over a month about buying a car. With everything that’s going on in the world, how can that possibly be a big deal? But it is. (Also I’m not sublimating you’re sublimating.)
I think it’s class stuff. I was raised middle class, but have been broke for most of my adult life. Then, about six months ago, I got a job with a solidly lower middle class salary. So many feelings! They ranged from “I should move into a shed and give every penny I’m not spending on stale bread to immigration and prison abolition groups” to “but what if I cashed out my bank account and piled up the money so I could sleep on it like a pale, smug dragon LOOK AT HOW MUCH MONEY THIS IS.” I’ve been trying to find a middle ground, with some amount of income redistribution and some amount of slowly restocking crappy, worn out socks and coats and bras and stuff (and a few new tarot decks; I regret nothing).
I also decided I wanted a car. I bought a truck this summer, having not owned motorized transportation for many years, and it was a charismatic mess, lacking fancy things like power steering and a functional transmission, so eventually we had to part ways. Therefore, given my newfound STACKS OF CASH, I thought I’d buy a car that didn’t suck.
My attempts so far to do so have been unsuccessful. Fresh from the frustration of the charismatic yet totally broken truck, I was determined to take any potential car to a shop for a pre-purchase inspection. But cars were selling so fast that no one wanted to waste a day driving their car to the shop to get inspected.
This made me feel kind of nuts. After so long of not being able to afford a car, or at least a car whose transmission wasn’t about to fall out, I had the exact right number of dollars to get the exact thing I wanted and no one wanted to sell it to me! I slowly realized that the friends who kept telling me about reliable dealerships and easy online purchasing were talking about situations in which the cheapest car available cost twice what I had to spend.
It was in that context that, after walking out of a sketchy dealership on a freezing, windy Sunday afternoon in tears because the owner refused to drive a car literally one mile to an independent mechanic for an inspection, I swore off car shopping for at least 24 hours—only to find myself awake the next morning at 5 am, checking Craigslist. Not good.
So I decided to do a tarot reading about it. I think my actual question was “Cars! Or—argh! All of this bullshit! Dammit!”
The cards never let me down, y’all. I was prepared to be bewildered by whatever came up, because I wasn’t feeling terribly focused and I don’t know this deck very well, but the reading did not disappoint.
I did a celtic cross, which I rarely do because I think the spread is too complicated, but it worked out really well. First impressions: lots of Majors and knives, with stones and branches also represented. Also—cars! There are two cards in this deck with cars on them and I got both of them.
It starts with the situation: The World, reversed. That feeling of having made it to a new level, but not quite being able to access it. Not really there, or there and also not there at the same time. Makes sense.
Then the conflict is Six of Knives. The standard meaning for this card is about accepting help and moving away from sadness/discord. But it’s also a picture of a car being driven across a rocky road under a sky full of knives. This is my actual car shopping life right now. And it's a white car, which is interesting in relationship to the leaving influence, so let’s move left…
The leaving influence (major theme from the recent past that is now receding in the… rearview mirror, if you will) is The Chariot. I suppose we could talk about the standard meaning for this card but let’s just jump to the fact that it’s a picture of a red pickup truck from which a cute queer is stargazing, which is the exact fantasy I had for my life with my charismatic, broken-ass pickup truck, which was, for the record, RED. And the white car in the Six of Swords looks suspiciously like the white car I’m borrowing from a friend and considering buying, even though I promised myself I’d never drive stick again.
Tarot is not usually this literal for me, friends. MOVING ON.
The incoming influence is The Guild, which corresponds to The Hierophant in traditional decks. In sequence with The Chariot and the Six of Swords, I read it as telling me to let the red pickup fantasies go,* and buy the white car even though it has a stick shift (it’s a very nice car) so that I can stop being so isolated in my house because I’m too tired to take the bus to community building things.
The surface reason for why I’m so wound up about this (top card), the Six of Stones, is all about giving and receiving. In the traditional image, a rich dude is tossing money to one poor person while ignoring another poor person and waggling a scale (of justice, one presumes) at said poor people. I’m not quite sure how this image tracks to that, but what I see in this card is coming to terms with feelings of loneliness and exclusion. The little black dot in the center of the stones seems like it’s more integrated into the community because it’s surrounded by its megalithic friends, but it’s also kind of boxed in and flat. The rose is off to itself, but it’s vivid and alive, and it has lots of grass to be friends with.
I think this is speaking to the feelings of wanting to have Middle Class Stuff (i.e., a Prius), partly because it has great resale value, low maintenance costs, and stellar gas mileage, but also partly because it’s a symbol of being financially secure and one of the group. Those aren’t my real values (well, not the part about being one of the group in that way), but it’s real that I struggle with them. We’re all indoctrinated in our class background and it’s natural to wrestle with that. I would buy the hell out of a Prius if I could afford one though.
The deep reason (bottom card) for why I’m so wound up about this is The Alchemist (Temperance in a traditional deck). This card is about holding space for opposites and finding balance. Part of what’s been happening this week is that I’ve been all about crunching data and numbers and trying to control every variable, but I'm doing that in an environment that is inherently uncontrollable. Calculating the difference between the fuel costs for a Civic and a Prius over five years is soothing if you love spreadsheets and data (I do!!), but it doesn’t do a thing to solve the problem of car sellers not being willing to drive their cars to the shop for an inspection, which is the actual problem. I’m spinning because my airy, intellectual labor is mostly useless in this situation. I can’t make people want to do a thing they don’t want to do (even though they are totally wrong, gah). I need to balance out that air energy with some earthy pragmatism and an emotional gut check. And maybe funnel some of my smart air energy and creative fire energy into figuring out how to practice scary stick shift situations so they are less scary (go white car!).
Moving over to the self position, we have the Nine of Knives. Yup. This is exactly how I’m feeling right now. Like a disembodied skull with scary teeth and a bunch of pocket knives in its head! This is generally a card about nightmares and worrying and being taken over by fears and waking up full of dread. Or, as the case may be, with an irrepressible urge to check Craigslist. Nine of Knives, you get me!
Above that is the environment card, which is the Two of Branches. This is usually about planning—after the seed of a new idea is planted, but before it’s ready to send up its first leaves. I think this is connected to that reversed World; it’s all about being in a space where I still really don’t have the means to get some of the things I want and need. It’s a caution to wait a little longer, be a little bit more patient. And a reminder that things are growing, things are moving, things are changing, even if it’s all under the surface still.
The hopes and fears position is The Oracle (The High Priestess in the traditional deck). I think it’s telling me that my hopes and fears about this car go a lot deeper than the worries about money. Those feelings are a deeply intuitive sense that I need help being more connected (as indicated by The Guild) and that easier transportation is a key part of that, coupled with some fears about being a sellout because I drive a car instead of riding a bike. I’m comfortable with my reasons for choosing to own a car, but that fear still nags at me sometimes.
And, finally, the Seven of Stones. I read this as “a word of advice”, as suggested by Beth at LRT. This one is about tending the garden. It’s the process of checking to see what’s ripe and what’s growing well, what needs to be weeded out to make space for new growth, learning from the past, and working for a good future. This card is so grounding and summery. I feel like it’s saying, friend, it’s okay to relax a little. You’ve done a lot of good work and you’ve got some great stuff going. It’s not all fully mature yet, but that’s okay. Keep showing up and watering the plants and caring for them as best you can. Try some stuff, make some mistakes, try again. You got this.
Y’all, I love tarot. I felt frustrated and spiky when I started this reading, and now I feel relaxed and settled. I’m so grateful for all the tarot readers who came before me and shared their wisdom so I could have access to this tool and companion. Sending out good thoughts to all of you on your tarot journeys.
*I’ll just mention that my most amazing red pickup truck stargazing experience, while it was truly epic, ended in me peeing all over my sleeping bag as I attempted to empty my bladder into a mason jar to avoid a 3 am journey over the tailgate, so it was not all starry nights and cute undershirts.
I haven't been posting that much because I'm still trying to figure out what life even is anymore, with Trump being elected and the world burning down. I know it's been burning down all along, but the reality of it is hitting me in a way that it never has before. I'm pulling it together, little by little, and slowly figuring out what my part of the work is, and how to keep myself whole while doing it.
But we have to find space for joy, right? Joy is survival. And in that spirit, here's a story about me getting called the hell out by a pack of cards (to quote some meme I've seen floating around in tarot spaces).
Last week, I'd been sick in bed for a week and a half with the second-worst cold I'd ever had. I didn't know that the human body could make that much snot. It was shocking, and also digusting, and after a while, painful. Yet I perservered, and finally, on day 10 of The Snot Times, things had dried up a bit and I'd begun to remember, at least a little, what it felt like to care about things besides soup and being warm. I was ready to go back to work and resume receiving the wages with which I keep myself in turnips and tarot cards!
There was just one problem. The weather forecast predicted snow and freezing rain, and I live in Portland, Oregon, which means any snow or ice is a total shitshow. That's an actual scientific weather term, by the way. But I was feeling a ton of pressure to get back to work, because I had long since used up my sick leave and it's a new job, so I felt like I was risking getting fired by being out so long. I sat there (really sort of laid there, under a pile of blankets), imagining being stuck at a bus stop for hours with a pair of barely-healed lungs (did I mention my lungs got in on the plague party?) and freaking out about how I was going to get fired. Finally, I decided to pull my daily card and to have my question be "should I go to work tomorrow."
I never do this. I am not a predictive reader, I don't believe that tarot can tell the future, and I don't ask yes or no questions. I was just messing around and trying to settle myself down. And I had a brand new Slow Holler deck that I was excited to explore--have you seen it? It's so good. I actually teared up when I saw some of the cards. More on that later.
Want to know what card I got?
I fell over laughing. This is especially funny because Slow Holler is the only deck that I know of with a Storm card (in the Slow Holler deck it takes the place of The Tower, which is the traditional sixteenth card of the Major Arcana).
I can hear this card talking to me:
you feel like you'll probably go out tomorrow
IN THE SNOW AND ICE STORM
to take the bus
which will not come for hours
when you are just starting to recover from the worst illness you've literally ever had
that time in law school does not count
even though your boss is being really nice about this
and your department has both a high turnover rate and a hiring freeze
so the risk that you will actually get fired is super minimal
do you remember how you had to take a nap after you went to the grocery store yesterday
do you remember that part
but you know
if you want to go out tomorrow
IN THE SNOW AND ICE STORM
you should do what you want i guess
Reader, I stayed home. I did not get fired. And I can breathe through both nostrils now! It's the little things.
Content note: abuse (no abuse stories, but things we are brainwashed to believe about ourselves as survivors)
Recovery is always a spiral. We heal and grow and transform, and then revisit old stories with a new perspective. Sometimes, there are fast-moving eddies in the larger slow spirals, and recently I found myself stuck in one of those eddies. That led me to another round of survivor-focused work, and I laid out cards late one night in a femme survivor spread by andi grace.
This one gave me chills, y’all. All majors, meaning the issue I’m working with is about major life themes. And all reversed, which I interpret as affirming that I’ve been feeling really stuck around this stuff.
1: The Truth
An endless string of lights drapes around a person’s head, neck, waist, and hands. Are they sorting them out, or are they tangled up in them? In the past, I worked so hard to neaten up things for everyone else, while I got more and more tangled up. Now I have the chance to sort things out for myself. I can stop bending over backwards to come up with reasons why they were doing their best and didn’t mean it. I can let go of the convoluted reasoning required to prove that they really were a good person, really, and that it was all my fault. I can see the devastating simplicity of what happened. I can look the truth in the eye and finally grieve, in calm, clear sadness.
And, grace. I can’t go back in time to protect myself, but I get another chance today. It’s over. I get to try again, every second. I am safe and free and healing; full of love and rage and glorious possibility.
2: The Lie
You should have known.
3: What happens when I believe myself
RWS decks switched Justice, traditionally number eight of the Major Arcana, with Strength, traditionally number eleven. This deck puts Justice back at eight.
So this card is not Strength. It’s not the hope that you can tame the dangerous lion if you expend enough gentle, selfless, endless labor and patience. Instead, it is weighing, deciding, choosing, setting standards; compassion tempered with boundaries. This version of Justice has no scale and no sword. They are just a person who takes themselves seriously, weighing options and making choices. Justice is the quiet space in which the tightness in my chest eases; where I can tell the whole, complicated truth, the good and the bad, the painful, the humiliating, all the things that happened. And then I can choose what comes next.
I missed writing my Rosh Chodesh post last week. Rosh Chodesh Elul was super magical though! I was able to see the moon if I stood in exactly the right spot on my front porch--it was just behind some power lines, and with the power lines as a point of reference I could almost see the moon moving! So amazing. Then I went inside and pulled my monthly cards, one face up and one face down.
My face up card was Innocence, from Thea’s Tarot.
Innocence replaces The Fool in this deck. It shows a young person standing at the edge of a river, among waist-high reeds. Their feet are set wide apart and planted in the earth. They are wearing knee-length shorts, no shirt, and they have small breasts—or maybe short top surgery scars. Their long dark hair hangs loose, past their waist, mirroring the reeds growing up from the earth. They look calm and determined.
When I look at this card, I see sureness and wholeness. This person is friendly with their body. It’s the same kind of body-friendliness you see in a toddler as she squats down to examine a bug. There’s no self-surveillance or internal division; they are just themselves, solid and peaceful.
Sureness and wholeness in our bodies is often impossible, especially for those of us whose bodies that are labeled “wrong”—fat, of color, gender non-conforming/non-binary, trans, intersex, female, femme, with a disability, and so on. In the external world, we may face harassment, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual assault, state violence, and more. We are also trained to surveil and control ourselves—to see our bodies as an enemies, or, at best, recalcitrant things to be brought under control. Experiencing sureness and wholeness in our bodies, even inside our own minds, is absolutely not allowed.
That shows up in every facet of our lives. For instance, I used to hate swimming. Actually, I never hated swimming, but I hated swimsuits. Trying to find one in my size was hard enough, and finding one that fit my non-binary gender identity? Forget it. The whole process was a gauntlet of interlocking microaggressions, and then, as a reward for my fortitude, I got to pay a premium price for being fat. Thanks, kyriarchy!
Then I discovered naked beaches. You would think that being naked would be even more stressful than dealing with swimsuits—and it totally is for lots of folks, especially many trans and intersex folks—but for me personally, it was easier. The difference was equal parts not having to deal with swimsuits and being around other naked people. It’s one thing to know intellectually that the “perfect” body type marketed to us is just one of a zillion ways to have a body, and it’s another thing to see fifty naked butts, in all their fabulous variety, over the course of an afternoon. That changed me.
And so, one day last month, I was hiking with a friend in the altogether along a sandbar. The river was sparkling and the sun was hot on our backs and the sky was perfectly blue, and we saw a dragonfly that had just molted. Like, its dragonfly shell was an inch away and it was quivering in the breeze like OKAY WHAT JUST HAPPENED YOU GUYS. We squatted down to look at it and suddenly I noticed that I felt good and happy and just regular about my body. I wasn’t particularly happy about my body, or sad, or anything. It was just my body and everything was as it should be when one is naked on a sunny sandbar, companionably ogling a freaked-out dragonfly. I felt content and at ease and like I fit perfectly in my skin.
That’s what I see when I look at this card. A moment of sureness, wholeness, integration. A hope for resistance and healing, and a place of strength from which to leap into the unknown.
When I made this blog, my thought process went like this… Hey, hey, there’s this amazing online tarot community, and tarot bloggers who are writing interesting stuff about tarot, which is one of my favorite things! This is a party I’d like to go to! I’m going to write things about tarot too! Of course I wanted people to read my blog, because what’s interesting to me is the conversation. But I was also like, Miriam, obvs you are amazing but realistically probably no one is going to read your blog, the internet is a big place. And that was fine and I made a blog and it was great.
And then, you guise! This amazing tarot reader/blogger read my blog! There are not enough exclamation points to convey my delight. She was kind and encouraging and supportive and it was so lovely. And I was like, yes! This is amazing!
You may know what is coming next if you are anything like me. Which is… I freaked out. I could not write anything because what if it wasn’t any good anymore? UGH. Early, small successes can be such a mixed blessing.
To help myself get out of that brain-spiral, I decided to pull a card about trying a new thing and being afraid of doing it wrong and having a whole lot of feelings about that. I got the Four of Wands.
In this card, a tree-person sits cross-legged on the ground, arms lifted to the sky. They are surrounded by a bounty of grapes, pears, and peaches. They have cute belly rolls and a leaf-bra, and their hair also is made of leaves. They are flanked by four tree friends.
This card is about celebrating a stage completed; one step on the ladder, even though there are many more steps to go. The fruit reminds me of the fall harvest, but peaches* are a summer fruit, and they remind me of hot lazy afternoons by the river. I like that as a transition. Summer is complete, fall is coming, and this person is grounded and joyfully connected to it all.
In terms of blogging, this is a reminder to take things one step at a time. Just write some stuff, publish it, feel the delight of connecting with people, and then…write some more stuff. Be who you are, be where you are, and celebrate the step you just climbed. That’s enough. Just write some stuff.
I think I can do that. And hello again!
* I cannot talk about peaches without telling you a part of this poem, The Art of Blessing the Day, by Marge Piercy. “This is the blessing for a ripe peach/this is luck made round/frost can nip the blossom, kill the bee/it can drop, a hard green useless nut/brown fungus, the burrowing worm that coils in rot can blemish it and wind crush it on the ground/yet this peach fills my mouth with juicy sun.”
I recently got the second edition of the World Spirit Tarot, and I like it a lot. I’ve been struggling to find a second deck for day-to-day readings--I love Shadowscapes dearly, but I've been using it exclusively for over a year and a half, and almost all of the people pictured in the cards are thin and white and heterosexual. I want to have more choices and new perspectives!
This deck has lots of racial diversity and some size, gender, and sexual orientation/relationship style diversity. The images are hand-colored linocuts, with strong, intense colors, and there’s lots of imagery in each card to draw on. It follows RWS pretty closely, with a few detours I like and some I’m not in love with, particularly the Three of Swords, but I’m interested to see how they grow on me. One slight change that I like is The Tower, which shows the Tower from the perspective of the storm. There’s also a Little White Book (LWB) that is brief but well-written (one 3.5 x 5 inch page for each minor arcana, sometimes longer for the majors). Finally, a few of the cards in the second edition have been redesigned, particularly The Sun, and I like the new designs. Here's a sampler of cards:
The cards are quite big (I can shuffle them like playing cards, but barely), and have a shiny finish. The cuts are not perfect and some of the curved corners look a little funky, with tiny tags/imperfections. It doesn't impact use, just aesthetics. Also, the backs have an asymmetrical image, so they aren't fully reversible.
Overall, I like the deck a lot and I’m looking forward to working with it more! I pulled a few cards for an interview, using questions I’ve seen on Little Red Tarot for other deck interviews. Here's what I got (behind a cut because I cussed one time and I don't want to get you in trouble at work):
Rosh Chodesh Tamuz* was on July 6th. I didn’t pull my monthly cards that night as I normally do, because I couldn’t concentrate. Just hours before, police had murdered Philando Castile in front of his partner and little daughter, and I was nauseated and furious and full of grief.
A few days later, I was able to focus better, and I decided to pick my cards for this month face up. Rather than pulling cards face down, we can choose specific cards to focus intention or for other reasons, as explored in this series by Siobhan Rene. I decided to try it this month because picking face up helped me feel like I was choosing my own path instead of having it chosen for me. That’s especially meaningful for me right now, as I’m moving out of a period in which I needed to drift and into one in which I need to be more focused, because did I mention I got the job? I got the job! The World was right on.
I chose the Eight of Wands, The Fool, and Strength as focuses for this month.
I chose the Eight of Wands for momentum and moving out into the world. A person stands amidst rocks and trees with their fox friends, blowing seeds into the wind. Seeds are the beginnings and ends of plants. This plant has gone to seed, ending a cycle, and now it begins its journey into its next life. It feels like things are moving fast for me too. I spent months job hunting and networking and often felt like I was just spinning my wheels. Now all that built-up energy is pouring out and rocketing me forward, and I want to embrace that momentum as I start the next phase.
I chose The Fool because I’m a little bit scared to start a new job in a new field, and I want to access that Foolish energy of embracing new experiences, taking risks, and stepping boldly off the cliff to see what happens. The Fool stands on top of a tower of rocks, stretched up on tiptoe and ready to plunge over the edge, trusting that they will be okay and full of curiosity about what lies below. Their clever fox friend is by their side, and a cloud of birds wraps them in ribbons—not to hold them up, but to show them how it’s done**. This reminds me that I need to surround myself with smart friends who support me without trying to rescue or fix. Also, I’ve looked at this card a bazillion times but I never noticed the bees! Since one of my long-term goals is to chuck it all and become a bee farmer, I feel like this Fool is telling me I’m on the right track.
I chose Strength because I want to embody power through collaboration. A person stands next to a lion so ferocious he’s sprouted horns. The person is relaxed, their right hand draped over his huge head, and their left hand right next to his sharp teeth. At their feet are two smaller cats, belled to protect the birds at the bath below. This is strength, but it’s not the strength of possession or dominance. There is trust and respect of each others’ agency, intelligence, and power. In the past, I’ve sometimes given up my power, failed to share power, or ignored my physical/emotional boundaries in order to please others at work. This card reminds me to slow down a little, to share power, and to respect my own needs as much as I respect others’ needs.
Happy Rosh Chodesh Tamuz, everyone. May we use this month to act in solidarity with one another for our mutual liberation. None of us are free until all of us are free.
*Rosh Chodesh means head/beginning of the month (the Jewish lunar month), and Tamuz is the name of the month. All Jewish days begin at sundown, so the new month starts when the sun goes down.
**"not to hold them up, but to show them how it’s done" is paraphrased from a reading by Siobhan Rene.