some way or another,
here we are in the final stretch of 2020.
You belong to this time and space. It may not be perfect or easy or what you imagined. There may be some discomfort and frustration, but hopefully there’s some good and magic and wonder, too. Whatever’s coming up for you now, it’s all okay. You’re here, you made it. You’re doing awesome and I’m proud of you.
Today I’ve created a tarot spread called ‘Presence & Persistence’ for you. Lots of people (myself included tbh) have done some shit talking about 2020. And, well, some of it was warranted. It’s been a strange and challenging year for most of us. But I always try to balance out the shit talking with expanded perspectives and gratitude and presence. Because when you look up and zoom out, there’s lessons and beauty to see.
So instead of just saying ‘screw this year, bring on 2021’ I’m looking for ways I can be present and persist during this last stretch of the year. Instead of what I sometimes want to do, which is dissociate and hide away.
Even as this year dissolves and a new year begins, I’m still me and you’re still you. The calendar is merely a construct. Even as it changes, we’re still here, dealing with our individual stuff and our collective stuff. So I wanted this spread to be something you can use now, with the specific intention of navigating the last stretch of 2020. But it’s also something you could turn to anytime you feel the need.
I’ll share a graphic below, and then I’m going to pull some cards for a sample spread for the collective, so stick around to read that message if you’d like. Then try the spread for yourself!
I will be using the Centennial Smith-Waite tarot to offer messages for the collective using this spread. I’ve drawn the following cards:
1- Presence: Temperance
2- Ease: Three of Pentacles
3- Persist: Nine of Wands
4- Gift: King of Cups
To me, Temperance feels like a perfect card to see when asking what we most need to be present with right now. In Temperance, our mantra might be “this is where I am. This is what I’m doing.” In the background of the card a windy path leading towards a glowing mountain peak. What’s that, what’s there? The angel is in no rush to find out. They are not trying to project themselves into the future. They are here, they are now, and that is enough. How can you, too, take this approach? Instead of being lured in by visions of what might lay around the corner down that windy path and into 2021, how can you more thoroughly merge with THIS energy, THIS moment? As I said – quite a perfect card to see when we’re asking about presence.
The way the angel moves the liquid back and forth between the cups just so exemplifies a partnership with what is. The cups seem to be an extension of the angel’s very self. As such, we must remember that our energy is extended into everything we’re doing right now. This can be a very magical thing. Should you choose to bake bread, your energy is extended into the bread and nourishes those who eat it. Should you choose to text a friend, your energy ripples out. The influence may be subtle, but you have influence. Use that influence with care, be conscious of how your energy emanates.
The Three of Pentacles might ask us to ease off on expectations around other people’s contributions. A tough thing to do, as certain situations (like, say, global pandemics) remind us that other people’s actions truly do affect the whole, for better or for worse. This is less about letting others get away with recklessness and more about returning our attention to our OWN contributions. Where could YOU be doing better right now? How can YOU set a better example? What influence do YOU have, and how can you use it with greater skill?
In a similar vein to Temperance, the Nine of Wands is another card that feels quite on the nose for the spread position. We ask about persisting, and get a card showing someone who looks like they’ve BEEN THROUGH IT, they’re tired, they’re wounded. Yet here they are, persisting. Holding down the fort, shoulders tense, wall of wands ready and on guard. Once again, I can’t help but seeing this card through a pandemic-tinted lens, because really, aren’t we all tired of this shit? Don’t we all feel like we’ve been social distancing and wearing masks and trying to maintain our sanity and our livelihood and our health for SO LONG?
The fact is that we have, and it’s okay to feel weary and on edge, whether it’s about the pandemic or anything else. The Nine of Pentacles brings to mind that somewhat irritating but often true statement “you can do hard things.” That said, I think there’s a need here to remind yourself that you’re not alone. Get a friend on zoom or on the phone and reconnect and remember that you’re not the only feeling drained and basically OVER IT. The way the cards are positioned within the spread, the person on this card seems alone but his gaze is directed towards the other cards. A reminder to get outside of your bubble – not physically, but energetically.
I think this card connects back to the message of Temperance as well, because you need to honor the difficulty of this time but you also need to tap into pockets of healing and reprieve and replenishment. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about activating your parasympathetic nervous system and that’s kind of paralleled in this spread, with the Nine of Wands showing a stress response and Temperance inviting in a rest + replenish response. Both are real. Your struggles are valid, but there are ways to find healing and restoration in their midst.
And then we have the King of Cups helping us identify gifts, what we’re learning. Visually, there’s some connection between this card and Temperance: similar background color, both hold cups, both have water. Like Temperance, the King of Cups reminds you of your capacity for ‘riding the waves,’ being present with the ups and the downs, the times when you feel sea sick and the times when you feel in awe of the vast ocean of life.
We’re learning to be present with the full spectrum of experience without getting totally thrown off our throne. I would go as far as to say we’re learning to “love what is,” as cliche as that might sound. The King of Cups truly brings us back in a perfect circle to something I said before I even pulled the cards at the beginning of this message: whatever’s coming up for you now, it’s all okay.
So that’s that! It was illuminating for me, and I hope the collective messages gave you something to sit with. And if you’d like, please do try the spread for yourself! I hope it brings you something useful and meaningful.