So, as-you-know-bob, I got a Mary-El tarot deck not too long ago. I brought it to a friend’s place the other day to show it off, and she went through all the cards and checked it out.
She commented on how the 16 of MA in this card looks like the statue of liberty on fire. And it totally does.
I commented to her that, if this card turned up in a reading – because The Tower showing up in a reading tends to freak people out – I would ask the querant “What do you need to let burn in order to get free?”
Fast forward two hours.
I’m sitting in a café, down town, and I pull out my deck and ask my gods, via the cards, to “tell me something new” about what I need to do in order to get where I want to go.
Guess what turned up.
My situation card is The Tower.
Now check out my crossing card:
I look at that absolutely wrathful phoenix overlayed on The Tower, and went “Oh… It’s me that’s burning”.
And it is.
That phoenix is me, it’s the Scorpio entering the third phase of existence, it’s the balanced human being that grows out of the “door mat” camel, and the reactive lion, in the Ten of Swords. Old Me is what is burning away. New Me is what will rise from this immolation.
Take a look at my Past and Future cards:
The Devil usually talks about conditioning, learned behaviours, the systemic oppressions under-which we live. It’s The Protestant Revolution and the Spirit of Capitalism. It’s the story in your (or my) head about how The Good Girlfriend makes herself smaller, and smaller, and smaller and doesn’t get to want anything and to demand more than that (so… anything) makes you (me) Unworthy of love and care. BUT, as described by Siobhan over at Little Red Tarot, it’s also the voraciousness of wanting all of it – whether that’s chasing pleasure at the expense of your health (too many hang-overs + not enough sleep?), or the idea of the “superwoman” who wants (or tries) to Have It All (the career, the kids, the house, the spouse, the vacations, and the overtime pay) – and the pull towards what you want… which can be helpful if, like me, you sometimes have trouble sorting out what you actually want, but can also be a major problem when you’re trying to get What You Really, Really Want from someone or something (or both) that is just not capable of providing it (stalkers? Telling yourself that what you want is That Pay Raise when, actually, what you want is to have the work you put into your job be recognized and appreciated in a demonstrable way).
In my case, I can read this as, yeah, the conditioning around The Good Girlfriend – that Hunger Makes Me article said all the things about that, so go read it – but also my own bad habits around “relentless hope” and seeing the potential in people, and not taking it well when things don’t go as I was expecting them to.
This is also highly visible if you look at my Obvious and Hidden Influences cards:
Yeah. I’m not great at handling change and uncertainty (at the best of times), but particularly not when it comes to interpersonal relationships, Expectations (and whether or not I get to have them vs whether or not someone else gets to have them), and all that other stuff. I’m totally getting pissed off about it right this second.
So The Devil is my Past card. That’s fine. I’d rather that bit was over and done with, even though it’s obviously not all burnt away yet. With any luck (and a tonne of hard self-work, honestly), that Emperor card in the Future spot is all about Self-Mastery.
At least I think it is.
It’s the “hard-won internal rules” that Oliver talks about in She Is Sitting In the Night. It’s the breaking of my own chains, as seen in The Rebel. It’s even, as Siobhan says about that Devil in my past, “the feeling of power when you notice you are free to choose”. In the past, I often haven’t felt I had that power, that my choices were “stick it out and take what you get” or “leave, and break your own heart”. Hopefully this Emperor in the Future position means that – rather than (or in addition to?) seeing it as breaking my own heart – I will start to understand that choosing to leave an unfulfilling situation is me taking care of myself, choosing to look for connections that feed me rather than choosing to hang around begging for scraps (see also: my “hopes and fears” card, below). This is the solid foundation, the order-out-of-chaos that I’m trying to create through my life-coaching sessions. This is knowing and having boundaries.
I did say “tell me something new”, though, so maybe I’m missing something?
Moving on to the next pair of cards:
The Page of Disks is all about trying something new. It’s nascent. The beginning of getting things to manifest In Real Life. It also touches on building self-trust – keeping your commitments, proving yourself reliable.
Taking a step back to get a broader perspective on what’s coming down the pike, though, and I get the Ace of Cups. The seeds of joy, love, emotional fulfillment, connection, happiness all (I gotta hope) to be planted in that good, manifesting earth of the Page of Disks.
The Four of Disks in the “fears” (or hopes) position. I read the Four of Earth as “tenuous shelter”. This totally connects with the other Four in this reading, the Emperor card in the Future slot. I have a history (and a present…) of Scarcity Thinking. The Four of Earth is The Miser, the person who can’t share, who really, REALLY believes that nobody has her back and that she has to take care of herself all on her own.
My fear – and it’s totally this – is that I’ll only be able to put myself first if I self-isolate. Like: It’s super-easy to walk away from people in-whom you have no investment. It’s easy not to ache at the knowledge that you can expect a grand total of NOTHING from another person when they aren’t important to you at all. But if I open my heart again… won’t I just end up right back in that Devil situation, pleading for a scrap of regard and offering everything I have in exchange?
I’m totally afraid I’m going to do that, and I’m not at all sure how to mitigate that possibility.
My outcome card is… Well, it’s not the sunniest card in the deck, to be sure. But it’s not horrible.
The Six cards all have to do with the assumptions we make, and the risks that we take, when it comes to interpersonal relationships. This card is about change and rest. About hard journeys that you’re still capable of making. About coming out the other side of grieving. It’s about getting over it. About moving on. That’s good. Moving on to where, though… That I have no idea.
Hopefully somewhere good.
My advisor card is the Heirophant. In this particular image, I can’t tell if she’s being depicted as a distressing, smothering, Mother Church kind of figure, or if she’s (possibly at the same time) the Shekina / Tree of Wisdom that you get (apaprently?) in Kabbalah. Traditional depictions of the Heirophant are frequently based around The Pope. It’s the religious version of The Emperor in all his patriarchal trappings (TRAP-ings. See what I did there?) and not a great card to get. In a lot of the decks I work with, though, the 5 of the Major Arcana actively moves away from this kind of externalized, top-down, mess and towards a whole slew of other possibilities – including a moderately professorial gay Archivist, a dominatrix called The Instructor, a deer-headed Ancestor, and the dark, fertile emptiness of No-Thingness.
This card is about tradition – the way things have always been done, about being aware of one’s own history, where one came from, and one’s own patterns. But it also asks “What kind of ancestor do you want to be?”, what kind of future do you want to create?
And then there’s these:
Over-arching and underlying influences.
See the way the High Priestess – she who dives deep into the murk of my unconscious to drag up soggy napkins with messages drawn in pictures, done in painstaking crayon lines, for my words-using conscious brain to try, try, try to understand – echoes the Wheel of Fortune? See how the red and white unicorn-lovers of the Two of Cups echo the colours of Solomon and Bilquis as The Lovers? See how Bilquis, Queen of Wisdom, is both the High Priestess and the shadow-potential Shekina of the Heirophant? How Solomon is the Emperor who’s allowed his heart to split, to be vulnerable?
The underlying influence is basically me dealing with my own brain (as always). The over-arching one is how Me and My Stuff can still handle, and fully experience, human connection.
Alright then. Onwards we go.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 Those “I’ll see you when I see you” folks… I don’t know how you do that. Because, when I see that happening, all I can think is “Yeah… Do you notice that you NEVER see them? Like you don’t demand to be a priority (not even THE priority, just A priority), so they just don’t bother prioritizing you, and they only ever call when they want you to help them out with something.”
But then, if someone is totally okay with “I’ll see you when I see you”, maybe they’re also totally comfortable with “you’ll see me when you see me” and are good at saying Nope and not throwing tonnes of energy and attention and time at people who aren’t offering the same level of investment? I don’t even know.
 And, for example, I’m a little worried that I’ll try to mitigate that by cutting and running at the first sign of even potential trouble, and (a) shooting myself in the foot, but also probably (b) hurting someone else who wasn’t necessarily hurting me.
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