Meditation is one of the outside the box ways that tarot can be really useful. The cards speak to ever facet of the human experience, and meditating on a card can be a powerful way to tap into various themes. Many of us are acutely aware of the tragedies in every corner of the world, and even if they do not “directly” hit us on a personal level, we are affected. Today, I’m thinking particularly about cards to meditate with as we navigate our responses to such tough times. 

There are many different ways to meditate with tarot cards, and I encourage you to find what works well for you. What I have found to be effective is to sit with your chosen card in a quiet space. As you would in a traditional meditation practice, take a few deep breaths. From here, you can either keep your eyes open and look at your card, or close your eyes if you prefer. As you continue breathing, invite the energy and lessons of the card to present themselves to you. It may take time and patience, but eventually you will find this a powerful way to experience the themes of the cards.

In this post, I’ll suggest five cards that could be useful as you process painful events either in your personal life or in the broader spectrum of society. 

The Empress

The Empress is an affirmer of life. She reminds you that even when times feel bleak, regeneration is always possible. Nodding to the idealized archetype of a mother, the Empress envelops you in unconditional love. In turn, she asks you to act out her nurturing energy yourself. As you meditate with this card, you may be led to ways that you can give of your own loving energy. She can also lead you to greater attunement with the natural rhythms of life. Just as seasons change, so does your inner landscape. Be gentle with yourself during difficult times, and trust the potential for shifts and new growth. 

The Star

The Star is a reminder that raw vulnerability is where healing is found. In many decks the human figure on this card is naked, suggesting that there is no need to be anything other than exactly what you are. You don’t need to be perfect, and you don’t need to respond to tragedy in any one right way. The Star asks you to let go of your shields and to let yourself be raw and real. The Star can also teach you to orient your focus towards gratitude and healing. This isn’t in an attempt to ignore or negate the reality of suffering, but rather to give you a broader perspective, one that tells a more complete story. 

The Moon

This card may at first seem like an odd fit, but I think it offers contrasting lessons that are of immense value. The Moon is sometimes associated with fears and confusion. After all, the Moon itself is a sort of illusion, it does not emit its own glow but reflects the light of the sun. But this is exactly why meditating with this card during tough times can be useful. When you are confronting tragedy, it becomes more difficult to see things as they really are. Loss, pain and confusion seem all encompassing, and we can be tricked into thinking those things are all there is. In a positive sense, the Moon offers you a chance to refocus the fear that naturally arises within you during difficult times. For example, if one person commits a senseless act of violence, fear can lead you to falsely assume this means large swathes of people are violent. The Moon warns us to to remember that the voice of fear can take us away from rationality and love. When we are aware of this, we can redirect ourselves towards a more comprehensive perspective.

Ace of Cups

Echoing some of the messages we talked about with the Star, meditating with the Ace of Cups can allow you to hold space for ALL of your feelings. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, anxious, sad, and depressed. Denying difficult emotions is quick way to allow them to become toxic. This card offers you an alternative, which is to let all of your feelings flow. Let them move through you, let yourself experience each feeling fully and completely. It is often this simple act of feeling your feelings that cleanses your soul and allows you to move forward refreshed.

Six of Pentacles

Meditating with the Six of Pentacles can help you consider what direct action you can take in response to tough times. One of the most difficult response you may have to bad things is a sense of powerlessness. This card asks you to open yourself to the power you do have to create positive change, even on a small scale. Let yourself be receptive to what useful actions this card ignites within you. It could be something as small as hugging a friend or smiling at a stranger. It’s a bit of a cliche to say so, but you never really do now how much these small actions can ripple out and make a real difference. 

That’s all for now, but I believe that nearly any card in the deck could offer you inspiration during challenging times. The next time you find your heart in need of a boost, I hope you will try sitting with a card and seeing what it brings up for you. As always, my thoughts on the card are only something to consider. You may find your own meditations with the cards bring up very different responses. I only hope you’ll feel guided to the messages that will be the most empowering and healing for you.

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