The collective story we’ve been living out no longer makes sense. This is no longer a fringe sentiment. We’re having mainstream conversations about the pitfalls of capitalism, the already-present effects of climate change, the systemic racism still present in America (and around the world). And those are just a few examples of the old narrative crumbling. It’s been happening for a while, it just seems to be accelerating lately.
Nothing changes in the outer world until our internal myths change. Or as Einstein put it, you can’t solve a problem using the same thinking that created it.
This is all stuff I’ve been thinking about for years. What completely new stories do we need? What old stories can we learn from? Where am I called to learn and unlearn, imagine and envision? How can I be a part of co-creating this new narrative, making space for it, being present with its unfolding? I still have many more questions than I have answers.
Sometimes the questions seem so big and complex that I just want to ignore them and watch Netflix forever. (Avatar the Last Airbender specifically). Sometimes the challenges seem so intense that I just want to curl into a small ball and dissociate from it all. Or lately, I just want to disappear into the mountains and watch sunsets (the picture above I took camping last weekend) in between listening to Taylor Swift’s new album on repeat (I love it and I don’t care who knows it!). Sometimes I feel like WTF is wrong with me that I’m dwelling on this existential shit so often? I used to think I would get older and become less brooding, but instead I get more antsy with age.
I also used to think maybe these thoughts are pathological. Y’know, messed up brain chemistry. Or maybe it’s because of the alignment of the stars when I was born. I’m a Cancer sun, so I can’t help feeling FEELINGS. And maybe some of these things are factors. But also, maybe there’s nothing wrong with thinking these things and maybe we actually need people who think these things. Maybe there have always been people, throughout human history, who yearned for magic and new stories and transcendental ways of being. And maybe it’s actually great that people like that exist. Maybe the world, the universe, needs these kinds of people. Maybe….I’m one of those people? That’s a nice thought.
Anyway. Even with all the questions I have, there’s one thing I know for sure. Tarot is part of all of this. Tarot reflects and deepens these questions. Tarot offers glimmering hints of answers, new ways of being, possibilities, shifts. And I don’t expect to leave this incarnation having all of the answers, anyway. Even if I just devote a little time and energy to sitting with these questions, even if I’m a small part of weaving a new story, even if I only ever understand the smallest sliver of the pie, that’s something. None of us have all the answers, and that’s okay.
Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Joseph Campbell: “life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.”
This weird time (as we keep calling it, but really, all times are weird) has taken me deeper into the path of the mystic, and that feels right in ways that can’t be expressed through language. It is an alignment that reverberates with the deepest layers of my consciousness. It’s something I need to continue saying yes to.
Anyyyyyways…somehow this long navel-gazing introduction came out before I could stop it! So thanks for sticking with me, because I actually have something else I want to share today: a tarot spread. I randomly found this in the notes app on my phone, but I know I didn’t make it up. Unfortunately I can’t remember where I found it and Google was no help. So if you happen to know who created this spread, please let me know because I try to give credit where it is due.
It’s a three card spread using the following positions:
Illusion – Knowledge – Magic
I will use the Spacious Tarot, and offer a brief interpretation for myself as well as the collective. Please take what resonates and leave the rest. And also, give the spread a try for yourself if it intrigues you!
Knowledge: Four of Cups reversed
Judgement reverse really hit me hard because it relates to some of the musings I shared above. Judgement can be about a calling, a Big Life Purpose. But there’s this illusion many people fall prey to with this concept. The illusion goes like this: when you find your purpose, trumpets sound! Angels usher you in! Think about the imagery on the Waite-Smith version of this card: it’s epic. It’s the illusion that when you find your purpose, YOU KNOW. It’s dramatic and unmistakable and you’re changed forever.
And I mean, sometimes this is the case. Occasionally you get a big, dramatic, unmissable wake up call. But more often, the expectation of such grandiosity is an illusion. In reality, finding your purpose is usually much more subtle. Sometimes the invitation to greater meaning and purpose is so subtle that it can be easily overlooked. Instead of the clouds parting, it’s a small glimmering, a subtle shift. Instead of trumpets blaring out, it might be a whispering, quiet voice that says “this way.” Don’t miss the small nudges because you’re waiting for a grand gesture.
The Four of Cups reversed as knowledge ties directly into this. To me, this is a reminder that in order to attune to the subtle energies of your Big Important Purpose, you need to withdraw from the stream. The stream could symbolize many things: a constant barrage of news and social media. Expectations and ‘the way things have always been done.’ And of course, the stream could also symbolize your own emotions. Know this: you must disengage from these things, at least occasionally, in order to restabilize. In order to come back into living from your center. Because when you’re living from your center, you’re more capable of feeling into the subtle whispers which are always trying to beckon you.
Death is Magic. I liked writing that sentence!
What I’m noticing the most right now is the way the hands reach out for the flower. Here in the image they seem frozen in time, but can you imagine what might happen if you stepped into the card? I can envision the skeletal fingers brushing the flower, but then it drifts away again. Maybe they finally do get ahold of it for some time, but eventually the skeletal hands decompose entirely.
So the magic is that we can’t really hold anything forever. We can catch glimpses. We can brush up against something sacred. But we can’t control or own or pin anything down. Kinda reminds me of what I shared earlier and the quote from Joseph Campbell: there’s a lot of magic in the fact that there’s so many things you just can’t know, can’t hold.
The white rose has many layers of symbolism. According to Arthur Edward Waite himself (via Mary K Greer in an old post on Aecletic Tarot), the white rose represents purification of the desire nature. The ego desires. The ego wants answers. The magic of Death is in transcending the ego. Transcending the ego itself is something most of us can only do occasionally before we slip back into its grasp. But if you’re willing to devote to this practice, the magic intensifies. New layers are constantly revealed, old layers are constantly shed.
Wowza! I really liked this spread and I’ll definitely be using it again. Thank you for being present for my metaphysical ramblings today. Cheers to our individual stories, and the unfolding story we are creating together.