A long time ago (by-which I mean early February) I did a quick reading because I was Very Preoccupied with an impending conversation with my not-quite-officially-gone ex-partner.
I used my then-very-new-to-me Wildwood deck, and pulled the Knight of Bows (which has been the card I associate with said ex pretty-much from the get-go), the Two of Vessels, and the Queen of Arrows.
Unsurprisingly, I burst into tears.
Pretty clear meaning, right?
I mean, as it happened, my painful and grief-stricken interpretation turned out to be right. They’re not coming back. Our relationship has changed in a really big, really painful (for me, anyway) way.
But… here’s the thing.
I could have read that spread differently, and it would have been just as accurate.
See, up until very recently, I’d never met a Queen of Swords who looked like she might have my back. She’s always come across as haughty and dangerous. The Punisher of God putting on my mother’s face to say “I am very disappointed in you”, The rigid arbitor of whether or not (spoiler: not) I’ll ever be Worthy. She’ll pit you against someone else for her own ends, then pick at your bones when she’s done.
No wonder I looked at that white swan, with all its death imagery and Mean Girl regal violence, and saw “It’s over. You weren’t good enough”.
Why would the Queen of Swords have anything kind to tell me, when she’s never once looked like my friend?
But maybe she is my friend.
This woman in her queercore band t-shirt, her biker boots that are just like my wife’s, her long skirt and hair flowers (like Frieda, like Marsha)… she looks like the Best Femme Friend (4evar) who says “I love you a lot, but you are being an asshole here”. She’s the friend who will make you tea and listen to you cry, and then look at you with that eyebrow cocked, like, “You know that I know that you KNOW you’re doing The Thing again” and she doesn’t even need to say “Are you noticing a pattern here?” out loud because it’s all in that look.
In retrospect – because hindsight is 20/20 – I can look at those three cards and see my blunt-but-caring friend telling me:
If you want to have a relationship with this person – and I know you do – you are going to have to back off on what you offer them. Whether it’s can’t or won’t doesn’t really matter here. The reality is that they aren’t giving you the partnership they offered you. Stop throwing yourself off a cliff and put your own oxygen mask on rather than rushing to help them with theirs.
Thanks, friend. ❤
So here's my question: Given that it's damn hard, when reading for yourself (and possibly when reading for people you're close to), to push back against whatever dominant meta-narative is eating your brain at the moment and see what other interpretations are available… How do you go about doing just that?
'Cause clearly I need some help.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.