TAROT AS MIRROR
Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned, and got up to go the bathroom ten times for no reason. I apparently had a lot on my mind. This is not an uncommon occurrence, although it surely has been happening less and less.
When I finally did “wake up” (those are quotes because I wasn’t actually sleeping), I didn’t text a friend about my woes, or say anxious things to my girlfriend, or smoke a joint (which may have helped actually). I sat myself down on the floor and I pulled out my Rider -Waite tarot deck. And I shuffled. And I asked to see the truth. Because when your life is great, and you still feel weighted down by “problems,” then maybe what’s in your mind is not the most accurate reflection of reality.
And after sitting on the floor pulling cards for a good 15 minutes, hmm-ing and hum-ing to myself, I felt like I was back in my body. I felt like I was supported, and, yes, I felt like the world was, in fact, magic again. Because tarot cards are all about magic; and I’m not talking about looking into crystal balls and seeing the future type of magic. For me, tarot cards are all about the magic of having the truth (and I do believe in truth, even if it’s gray a lot of the time) reflected back at you. It’s the magic of having a mirror that allows you to see clearly, even for a second.
I don’t think the tarot has ever told me anything that I didn’t already know. And that’s perhaps where a lot of people get scared around pulling cards. They think that they’ll learn something that they don’t want to know, or that would be better off learning down the road. But here’s the reality of it: you can only see what’s there. And we already know what’s there, even if we’re not fully conscious of it.
When I read self-help books and listen to Pema Chödrön audiobooks, it’s never anything new. None of it is really new. What these writers and great teachers are doing, and what we are all doing for each other, is just reflecting our collective wisdom back to each other in ways that our souls can understand. We are sparking something that is already there deep inside waiting for us to rediscover it. And that’s exactly the case with tarot cards. They are just these beautiful, symbolic tools that were created by our fellow humans to help us all see ourselves more clearly.
Yes, maybe there is a part of me that pulls cards hoping to be reassured that everything is okay. And that is its own truth. But the bigger truth is that I already know I’m okay. And not to generalize, but here I go: I’d dare to say that we all know that we’re okay and supported by something bigger, even if it’s hard to feel it some or most of the time, even if you never consciously feel it. You know? And that’s where having the truth reflected back to you can make everything feel as okay as it really is.
(Note: I know some people have WAY more challenges in life than others, and I respect that. For some people, the world is very dire. I still will go out on a privileged limb and say that challenges are a form of learning, and there is something greater that has the best intentions for all of us).
I could spend all day reading about tarot spreads (I even started a Pinterest board, which is kind of a big deal). They all work in their own way. Sometimes it’s awesome to pull a gigantic Celtic Cross and nerd out about how all the cards fit together. But sometimes - like the morning after you didn’t sleep a wink, for example - you just need something that cuts straight to the core. Two cards, and no bullshit:
Because, yeah, what we think is “true” is often just our brains going hog wild. You can’t argue with Truth (or you can, but that’s the easiest way towards going nowhere fast). So, you pull two cards and if the Truth matches up with What You Think Is True, then you know that it’s not all in your head. And from that place, you can take action, or at least not take action from a place of knowing. If what’s actually happening doesn’t match up with your own perceptions, then again you are in a place to get back into alignment.
Oh, and one card I always pull, no matter what the spread: energy to bring to the situation. In other words, what can I do, if anything?
Because we all have control over our lives, or at least how we react to what happens in our lives externally. And that’s the part that always makes me feel a little better. Because how we live our lives is a choice, just like believing in magic is a choice. And if you don’t believe that, talk to the crystal ball!
Speaking of choice: if you love the Tarot, or just got your first deck and want to try it out, I hope you’ll choose to come to Tarot Salon, which is a magical event that I co-facilitate every month at HausWitch. Check it! The next one is Tuesday, August 23rd 7-9pm.
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