Tarot Letters 2

new relationship terror and intuition vs fear

Every month, I take some questions out of my submissions bag and pull some cards for short written readings and advice. If you'd like to submit a question, you can do so here - it's all anonymous! Thanks to those who sent stuff in, I really appreciate your trust. If your question isn't below it might yet pop up in a future edition. 

Every answer is accompanied by images of the cards I pulled and details of those cards and deck (image descriptions in full at the end of the newsletter); I encourage everyone to have a look at those images and note their own feelings about the visuals, the colours, the composition. There are answers there for you too. Okay, let's get to it!


L1: I'm slowly drifting into the beginnings of what could be a new relationship and I'm wondering if the terror I feel about it is warranted? Is it okay to feel this scared? 

First of all, I'm excited for you! Second of all, YES, it's okay to feel anything you want, there's no limit to that, and this fear doesn't have to substantiate the "validity" of the feelings you have for this other person and those they have for you. Let's try and see if we can dig a little deeper into this terror and why it's here. 

Deck used: Spolia Tarot. When I pulled the Ten of Cups and The Moon for you, I laughed. The tarot might be gently teasing you (with love!) The messages I read in these cards: the terror could come from a fear of happiness and getting what you want as well as a fear of surrendering to uncertainty.

Look at the Ten of Cups, the double rainbow pastel sunset, pink cups raining down from the sky or floating up towards it like celebratory lanterns, multiple hands reaching up together, joyous, grasping. Is there a fear of not deserving the new relationship, the love and affection and partnership that (one hopes) comes with it? A fear of fucking up what looks like something good, really good, too good for the voices inside you that insist you're not good enough?

Sometimes relationships are the most ideal when they exist and remain in the abstract, similar to our ideas of people that we admire and whose affections we covet. There's an emotional high in feeding off that fantasy. But relationships that last, that work, have to live on Earth, anchored to real things. What is your relationship to the concept of "deserving happiness"? What are your worst fears when it comes to getting what you want?

I've been listening to this new Best Coast song a lot, called Everything Has Changed, and there's a great bit where Bethany Cosentino sings: I used to be so scared / If everything's okay / Then what the hell do I complain about? The Moon sort of echoes that what if. The Moon asks you to get comfortable stumbling around in the dark a little bit, or at least try. There are parts of us that are so private few people, if any, know them. They're precious parts, and we feel protective over them. To share them can be scary, and just the same to discover someone else's shadow parts and moon-lit selves can also be scary. There's a lot unknown when we commit to knowing another, to mindfully and deliberately connect and intertwine.

Your Ten of Cups could be what you already have now, happily single and sure of yourself, already comfortably holding a really good life that then might be threatened by the entrance of something and someone new, something unknown. It could bring and end to an existing story, and start a new one. So why do you want to do it? That's what The Moon is asking you. Paint the fullest picture you can of what your happiness already looks like and could look like, without this new relationship in it. Then bring in the new relationship, the possible new partner. What do they add, in terms of clarity, mystery, abundance, endings? Are they things you want to drift or charge towards? What do they add to your picture, and do you want that? 

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L2: How do I know what I want is what I *really* want, and not something I want borne out of my trauma? I constantly doubt myself when I make a big decision (saving to buy a house or deciding when to get married), because in the back of my head there is always a voice that urges me to do whatever will prevent traumatic past events. 

L3: How do I distinguish intuition from fear? How do I become more aligned with what I need/desire and act on them, rather than react to what I fear may happen?  

I bundled these two questions together because I felt like L3 was a more concise to-the-core articulation of L2, and that they were asking the same thing. The relationship between what you want and what you fear. I pulled the Two of Swords and Justice (another minor + major arcana pair!). Deck used: Neo Tarot.

The work you may be called to do right now is getting very familiar and comfortable with letting go. What does that look like in your life, what responses it evokes (without reacting on those immediately), what it makes you feel about yourself. And then you have to get very familiar and comfortable with making mistakes and failure. What does it mean for you, in your circumstances, to fail? What consequences are there, what do you lose and what do you gain, what parts of it makes you scared, and what parts of it excite you? 

There's a sense in both cards of weighing up our options, and the human desire of a linear process that deposits you at the "right" decision and path that takes you very cleanly and clearly to your next destination in life. Hearing plainly the voice that tells you which sword to wield, which way the scale tips. Taking action based on absolute unequivocal knowledge and certainty. You already know that is fantasy. Life isn't clean or neat or clear. Voices come through static and fuzz, sometimes you get distracted and miss a whole sentence. You second and triple and quadruple guess and change your call at the last minute, you give a big shrug when the timer goes off and hope for the best. Because decisions continue needing to be made, your life continues to need living.

L2 and L3 , how have you weighed and sat with your past trauma and old fears, how have you embraced them, rejected them, gotten to know them, tried to forget them? What is their voice in your current life, and what is it saying that you need to feel safe? Is feeling safe your biggest priority at the moment, or is it something else? How are you balancing old hurts and present desires, what is the story of justice in your life, do you feel your trauma has been witnessed, acknowledged, addressed? If trauma and fear reach out to you from the past, and your desires and wants reach out to you from the future, do not give in to a tug of war. Ground yourself in the present and give yourself space and time to work on looking at things clearly and truthfully. Be accountable to the moments you are occupying and all that lives in it with you, which includes the possibilities, messes, doubts, mistakes. 

The swords in your hands change. The items on the scales change. Your locations, your partners, your relationships, your circumstances change all the time. What stays constant is that YOU have to be the one contemplating these changing things, and allowing them to change you. Spend more time understanding yourself, your fears, your desires, your questions and confusions, and what you truly already know. 

Previously, I wrote about the Students of Stones and Branches. “Pages in the tarot are students, beginners. Full of vim and a desire not just to learn but to consume everything the world has to offer. They'll fuck things up along the way no question, bumble into messes and solutions, spend more time not knowing than knowing, but they're driven by this motivation to be full, to be filled, to furnish the empty spaces in their brain-body-minds.”

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Image descriptions: I described the Ten of Cups quite fully in my response. The Moon card depicts three stone female figures in long draped robes with their backs to each other facing three different directions. The one in the front and to the right carry torches, and a white-grey snake curls around them. They are set in front of a black backdrop, with a blue-grey moon full behind their heads and an upturned crescent moon floating above their heads. Two grey hands point in opposing directions below their feet, and at the base there are white flowers like the trumpet of a gramophone — moonflowers. A figure clad in a long sleeved green jumpsuit sits atop a white orb in the Two of Swords. Her long braid rears up from the base of her back towards her head like a scorpion tail and covers her eyes, her arms are crossed high on her chest and she holds two swords with pink hilts. She wears one large gold crescent as an earring. The corners are daubed with mauve quarter-circles and the backdrop is a light blue with white-blue squiggles, almost evoking water or clouds. Justice is a black clad figure with a similarly long braid floating behind them. They stand on pointed toes holding white balanced scales in their right hand. On their chest two red six-pronged stars framing a single open eye on their chest. The background is chocolate brown, with two dark green column bases on either side topped with a slim column of light brown (left) and pink (right), topped further with two eight-pronged yellow stars. To the side of their pointed feet a red sphere balanced on a brown block, and behind their legs a long horizontal pink bar.

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