Dreaming Way Tarot
So, to be honest, I’m not that into Valentine’s Day. But I AM into the concept of LOVE! You know, though, love is a complicated and open-ended topic. On Valentine’s Day we tend to focus more on romantic love, but it’s important to also consider the more expansive implications of love. This can be tricky to do, though, as we don’t even have one set “definition” of love to get the inquiry going. Exploring your relationship with the concept of love sounds worthwhile in theory, but where to begin?
With this query in mind, I came up with a list of questions to inspire you (and me) to explore the concept of love, using tarot as a prompt. To get the most out of this exercise, I suggest drawing cards AND journaling on each of the questions. I’m going to be drawing cards at random for these prompts, but you could also consciously select cards to answer each question, if you’d prefer.
I’ll share my cards and thoughts with you here, but of course yours will likely look quite different from mine. Love does not have one fixed definition, we are all touched by this concept and interact with this concept in different ways. I hope you’ll try this for yourself and that these questions might give you a more holistic understanding of your relationship with love.
What can help me define love?
I drew the Three of Wands.
Love is the force that gently draws me forward. Love invites me to explore the world, to explore my own psyche. Love is what keeps me facing the sun, facing possibilities. I can define love as the energy that points me towards what is interesting and powerful and worth discovering in this life.
How can I increase my ability to receive love?
I drew the Three of Swords.
Love and pain are intrinsically linked. If I want to receive love in deep and profound ways, I have to accept that I will also receive pain in deep and profound ways. When I try to filter out pain and only receive love, I weaken my ability to perceive any emotions. As Khalil Gibran said: the more deeply that sorrow caves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
How can I increase my ability to give love?
I drew the Five of Wands.
Instead of being nit-picky, I can work on accepting and loving people for who they are. It’s important for me to check my tendencies to lash out at the perceived flaws I see in other people. To give more love, I need to accept that sometimes the people I love the most are also the people who can really drive me nuts. People are not only deserving of love when they live up to some idealized version of themselves that I’ve built up in my head. Instead, I can give more love by being willing to give love even when I perceive people as being difficult and annoying.
What might stand in the way of love?
I drew the Five of Cups reversed.
Unconscious feelings and beliefs telling me that I am not worthy of love stand in the way of love. The fear of sadness, the lengths we got to avoid sadness – these things are more effective barriers to love than the actual sadness itself. Sometimes despair can feel very pressing, the experience of despair can be so visceral that it seems as if love will never again break through. But love always does break through, and is present even as a barely discernible undertone even when despair feels utterly prominent.
What is unexpected about love?
I drew the High Priestess.
Love is a great shapeshifting mystery. There is more that is UNEXPECTED about love than that which is expected. Love deftly moves beyond expectations. Love is not restricted to cliches or traditions. Love is a pulse, a heartbeat in my individual consciousness that mirrors a pulse in the universe itself. How this pulse manifests is infinitely variable, and almost always unexpected.
How might hurt and love be reconciled?
I drew the Two of Pentacles.
This echoes the themes brought up by the Three of Swords. Hurt and love must coexist. One cannot be banished without dragging the other one along. I can work on consistently evaluating how I am managing both of these energies. I can become more aware of which I am paying more attention to in a given moment, I can attempt to ensure that they are working together instead of at odds within me.
In what ways has love transformed me?
I drew the Six of Swords reversed.
Love has taken me to hell and back. Love has thrown me for a loop. Love has led me to great confusion and powerful insights alike. Love has asked me to go beyond the peripheries of my own awareness and consider the greater linking of all things. Love is taking me for a ride, and that ride is called life.
How has my understanding of love evolved?
I drew the Nine of Wands reversed.
Without realizing it, I used to approach love with great caution. I didn’t want to bring too much of myself forward. I didn’t want to risk getting hurt. And so I showed up in measured ways, cautiously assessing the situation. Instead of letting myself tune into my true self and softly unfold, I approached love with calculated strategy. I didn’t know I was doing so.
Now, my understanding has evolved. Love is not about avoiding parts of myself. Love is not about presenting a facade. Love is not about carefully measuring out how much of ME to bring to the table. Instead, love is about liberation. Love is about expression. Love is about being who I am, being open and curious about who others are, and leaving room for things to continuously expand and evolve.
What masks look like love – in other words, what might be mistaken for love?
I drew the reversed Ten of Cups.
Love wears the masks that society has placed upon it. Society says that love is about marriage, children, white picket fences. And of course, sometimes love is vibrantly held within these definitions. But these things do not always reflect love. Love goes beyond definitions and structures. Love is boundless, showing up in all sorts of ways, moving to its own rhymes.
What unconscious emotions can love evoke?
I drew the Nine of Cups reversed.
Love can lead me to a more direct understanding of what I really want. Love asks me to sit with what I think I want and see how that lines up with what actually makes me happy. Love asks me to consider what I thought would bring me fulfillment verses what actually DOES bring me fulfillment. In this way, love is a teacher that brings me into a more refined and nuanced understanding of the emotions lurking beyond my surface.
Where is the need to love MYSELF more consciously?
I drew the Eight of Pentacles.
Lately, I’ve been working to love myself in very concrete ways: by eating lots of vegetables. By engaging in the activities I really care about. By working on my business. By keeping the promises I make to myself. I can show myself love through my direct actions, by approaching these things with not a sense of duty but a sense of devotion.
Where is the need to love OTHERS more consciously?
I drew the Ace of Pentacles reversed.
Sometimes it feels awkward to reach out to others. I do often fall into the trap of wishing someone else would take the initiative. It can make me uncomfortable for me to take the first step, to set the plans, to be proactive. But by being willing to be the instigator, by showing a concrete commitment to keep up connections, I can bring more consciousness to my love for others.
What beliefs about love should I re-evaluate?
I drew the Nine of Pentacles.
Love isn’t about appearances. Love isn’t about how lavishly someone praises me, or even how much they validate me. In fact, I often learn more about love from those who challenge me (as described with the Five of Wands). I can reevaluate any notions that love is supposed to keep me safely grounded in my comfort zone. Love is there to build me up, and the process of being built up doesn’t always feel comfortable.
How can I align more authentically with love?
I drew the Knight of Pentacles reversed.
Instead of focusing so intently on myself, on my own insecurities and issues…I can align more authentically with love by focusing more on others. By setting the intention to encourage those who need a boost. By remembering to let people be who they really are instead of who I suppose they should be. As I give other people the support to align themselves with love, I also give myself the ability to align with love.
If you answer these questions for yourself, I’d be quite interested to hear any insights you’d like to share. Feel free to leave a comment on the post and let me know.
Sign up for fresh blog posts weekly + my free ebook ‘The Tarot Reader’s Daily Companion’.