Void

this is what happens when you tweet instead of writing

October 7:

October 30: 

I JINXED IT. I started writing this newsletter twice and I sputtered to a stop halfway through both times. I'm tired and blank! I got nothin'. But I didn't start this thing for it to be hard, I didn't want to miss a month, and if I can't serve the main course, I'll serve you the sides, the scraps. 

October has actually flown by, an unexpected surprise after the extended length of my August and September. I sent in my notice at work. I confirmed my last day. The pile of work remains huge and anxiety inducing but the list of events and tasks grows shorter everyday. My honey and I celebrated their birthday with a fancy tasting menu dinner which put me to delicious sleep by 9.30pm. I killed it on the birthday gift front. I got to go to Bangkok a few days ago for a meeting of amazing, engaged, generous, babely people, I got to spend quality time with dear friends who went with me and I didn't think about my day job even once. It was bliss. I spent time on the plane and during breaks making lists for what happens after this job is over. I did two short tarot reads for some new friends and it felt so good to be able to have that energy and give it to someone else again, something I haven't been able to do since the end of July. 

The hard things remain hard, remain present. I wanted to write about the heaviness of the hard things, about sadness, but in the end I guess I also didn't want to. I thought, isn't that so boring? Good things, bad things, nothing and blankness. One after the other after the other. But that's been the only way to move for me. 

I'll see you in November 😘

Sides 'n' Scraps


Previously, I wrote about The Devil and the Two of Swords; “You wanna lie down thinking about it because that weight is heavy and that responsibility is hard. I don't think it's a devilish thing to want the easy, even knowing that it doesn't absolve us or solve anything. To want to feel good in a way that makes you forget your responsibilities, in the face of the work it all involves. Seems human.” If you'd like to subscribe, click here. If you like what I write and share and want to support that, here’s my tip jar. Please feel free to share this newsletter with a friend 💌

The Devil and the Two of Swords

the weight of our choices

On the left, The Devil from Spolia Tarot (a grey line illustration of a winged devil holding a figure by the legs and eating the figure’s top half, against a fully black background) and the Two of Swords from Apparition Tarot (a red background bisected by a slightly curved black and white checkered column; in the foreground are two curved black and white checkered daggers with yellow handles - the one on the left has an open eye on the handle with long lashes, the one on the right has a black oval possibly a closed eye - and these sit above two sitting black and white dogs, dog on the left looking to the left, dog on the right turned away and looking to the right).

When I still believed in the religion I grew up with, the concept of hell and the devil brought me some fear and worry and it also brought me comfort. It made me think there was a straightforward meaning of justice, of right and wrong, and of eventual punishment to those who hurt others in this world and life. If not now, then in the after

That concept of an afterlife was one of the hardest things to let go of when I decided agnosticism was more my speed. Like okay, I want to believe in a mysterious random unknowable/knowable universe that runs on its own steam like cells multiplying in a petri dish, in our free will and how it's enacted in our relationships with each other, with other earthly and otherworldly elements, in how we are in charge of our "morality", I want to believe that there is no life after death only what memories remain of our actions and presence on earth, our relationships. If I believed all that, then I must believe our actions as we lived mattered significantly, that community mattered significantly, and if there were "bad eggs" amongst us that caused harm, we needed to acknowledge the pathways of that person's life and self and actions in the interconnected web of our relationships, and that we are all responsible for and accountable to one another. Because we only have this one world, each other, these single lives, this finite amount of time. 

My brain for a while would then say: Okay, what about Hitler? What about paedophiles, abusers, mass shooters, and rapists? What about the evil ones that don't start out so evil (hi Aung San Suu Kyi), that cause harm through neglect, through the belief in their own morality, through the desire to protect One above All? What about the ones that never have to face the massive harm they did? They live, they die, they return to the dirt and there's no Devil waiting in a hell prepared to make them face what they did and maybe finally feel remorse. And so then it's our job - us, the living - to try and get that process of confrontation, of justice, of healing above all, happening before the big clock runs out on our single, interconnected lives. On top of you know, just living! And trynna get laundry done and find love and clean the litter and use up the produce in the crisper drawer before it goes bad! 

Just typing that out made me want to lie down all over again. 

My beliefs are a forever work in progress, as is my relationship to faith, humanity, the unknowable. I can't explain how I've "squared" it in my head because I haven't, but I know I ask these questions now with less despair, that I learn a lot about my thoughts and feelings about justice and healing and accountability when I learn more about the prison abolitionist movement and transformative justice. It's made me view what (and who) we call "evil" with a closer eye and a more curious heart, to see how connected we all are even and especially to those we disagree with, to those who repulse us and make us question humanity's future. I've turned my eye and heart inward as well to my own shadows and yearnings, to where my judgement and forgiveness lives, to why it is that I put so much stock in remorse, and what it is I truly want when I experience and witness hurt.  

And so. The Devil's been coming up for me recently. I asked on Instagram what people's relationship to The Devil was, however they interpreted it (in the abstract, the literal tarot card, as a religious figure, as a character, etc), and I only got one response, which I can understand. It's maybe too big a question to shoot off a reply to on an app. L, the only one who responded, said they associated it with "being enabled or enabling as opposed to being empowered." Enabling in the sense of acting in the name of "something that feels good but not might actually be good for [yourself] (or for someone else)." This made me think of the themes I spoke about above, how relational and collective our lives are, the weight and meaning of our responsibility to each other and to ourselves to practice care, to lift up, to leave the world better than how we found it. You wanna lie down thinking about it because that weight is heavy and that responsibility is hard. I don't think it's a devilish thing to want the easy, even knowing that it doesn't absolve us or solve anything. To want to feel good in a way that makes you forget your responsibilities, in the face of the work it all involves. Seems human. 

Around the same time as The Devil showing up, I was coming to the realisation that I am experiencing mild depression about my job. It's been very stressful recently [redacted whole paragraph about all the things that have been stressful about work]. In short, it's a pressure cooker that's been on too long, to the point that the joy and motivation have leached out of the day to day. The depression makes it hard for me to focus - everyday tasks feel overwhelming and pointless, and in turn I doubt my progress, the decisions I've made about my direction in life, and the future I am building towards. The least I could do and what I managed to do, was sit where I was (stuck), and name what was in front of me. It was a step above darkness. It was something. The realisation was sad, but I find naming the dark shapes in my life almost always helps in getting to understand them better and seeing them more clearly so I can know what I am facing.

I also watched two things recently: a documentary called The True Cost and the second half of Season 3 of The Good Place. The documentary is about all the different types of impact that result from the production of clothing (like on garment workers' health and labour rights, on the environment, on local economies, on our expectations and experience of fashion and consumerism). The Good Place, if you haven't watched it, is a sitcom that's broadly about the concept of heaven and hell, and morality, and what it means as a human to be and do good. In a way it’s also exploring why we think about all these things. 

If you watch or wanna watch TGP, I'm gonna put a SPOILER ALERT here, go to next paragraph! In the show there is a point system that translates your actions on Earth into points that determine whether you go to The Good Place or The Bad Place. And in the third season they discover that the points of our actions have changed, because it's become more complicated to make morally "just" choices in a world where buying a fresh tomato could implicate you in terms of if the labour to pick that tomato was exploited or if harmful pesticides were used to grow that tomato or if the carbon footprint of getting that tomato to your grocery store thinned our ozone layer even more. This story point felt quite masterful, and when they executed it it spun my head. SPOILER OVER. 

After I watched these things, I ended up going to Uniqlo and Nike at a mall to window shop, and as I walked past the racks and shelves, touching the leggings and mesh tank tops and the sweaters, I of course thought about the humans I didn't know that made all these things in a factory, whether their lives were as prosperous as mine, whether they could afford anything in these stores, what rivers and landfills lived near their factories and how they've fared after the production of all these RM150 leggings, what these workers thought about heaven or hell and their lives on this earth right now, if they thought things were going to get better, if they believed their work moved them further in their single lives. Yes, it's lie down time again. What an insufferable way to be in a mall, right?? Where does it leave you as a player in capitalism and a human trying to "do good"? Where does it leave you if you just need to buy a damn t-shirt? 

None of these things make me feel closer to understanding The Devil, as a concept and as a card in tarot but they also do? I think the grappling is the point. Liy taught me about a way to structure the sequence of the major arcana to understand parts of it in the context of a long journey of the self, which she first got from Carrie Mallon. The Devil starts off the third and final sequence that focuses on the Spiritual, on Enlightenment. It's where the self begins to think about its place in the cosmos, its sense of purpose on a larger scale of not just being a human, but being human, one of 7 billion, one of several communities. And that's a task that doesn't disappear, doesn't get to be checked off. It's the work of our lives, it's (to me) the meaning of it all, of this time we have, of how we spend it as the Earth spins on its axis and revolves around the sun, again, again, again, again. 

It will always be eerie to think of The Devil as a shadowy figure echoing my steps, looking over my shoulder as I contemplate how to live on a dying planet that we are killing. As I contemplate how to live with the ghosts of failed relationships in a small city, how to face the ways in which I've hurt others and how they've hurt me. As I contemplate a million choices that make up my single life, large and small, and wonder what it all adds up to. When I think of turning around to face this figure, my agnostic self imagines my own face under the cloak of shadows

The Devil to me remains the most abstract of the Major Arcana; it could be singly and at the same time the self, the systems we live in, obsession, addiction, spiritual hunger, lack, our own beliefs and fears, the ability that lives inside all of us to do harm (perhaps the biggest fear of all). And sometimes there is no light we can grasp that's strong enough, within easy reach, to hold against that. So you do what you can, you ask a single question, you look harder at something you take for granted, you tell the truth about something you feel you've done wrong, you forgive yourself, you hold yourself accountable, you talk to yourself about doing better, you make some real plans about doing better, you look harder at the world and where you are in it, you use your voice even if it's to sigh, to scream, you give up on words for a minute, you hug something soft and cry and hope time goes by faster for you and that the new day is kinder. You name the darkness something other than "evil". You let it envelop you and you tell yourself, if nothing else, I'm still human. 


Previously, I made an audio recording about The Star and also The Tower. “If you've ever suffered loss, it can feel at times like your life after loss, no matter the length and duration, can always be thought of as after disaster.” If you'd like to subscribe, click here. If you like what I write and share and want to support that, here’s my tip jar. Please feel free to share this newsletter with a friend 💌

The Star

  
0:00
-6:23

Trying something new! Some behind the scenes on this production: I wrote out what I wanted to say, but knowing that I was going to speak it aloud and record freed me up from a previous block and made the words flow easier (funny how that works). I riffed a little and flubbed once or twice and went back to edit those parts out along with a few but not all of my ums and vocal clicks. I recorded it using Audacity on my laptop in my living room with no one at home and the fan on, and didn’t do any other audio tweaks. Do have a listen, but if you’d prefer to read text, I have the transcript of the audio below at the end of the newsletter.

Previously, I wrote about the things I love about being a Leo. If you'd like to subscribe, click here. If you like what I write and share and want to support that, here’s my tip jar. Please feel free to share this newsletter with a friend 💌


Things That Are Good

  • The Tarot for Beginners workshop Liy and I organised at the end of July! We had 13 sign-ups, which was exciting, and ended up having 7 participants, which turned out to be just about the right amount for the space we prepared and the activities we had in mind. It was so good to have a few Sunday hours to nerd out about tarot with other nerds, to talk about what it means to us, our questions about how to understand it better for our needs and wants, and carving new paths towards that understanding with each other. The feedback was positive, for which I am very very grateful

  • I received the best array of love letters for my birthday! Comics of a friend's first memory of me, a testimony from an acquaintance I made last year and really connected with through tarot, a little ficlet about College Boyfriend Harry Styles™ - a beloved character from my 1D tumblr days, beautifully thoughtful affirmations so full of love and more grace than I thought I'd be allowed from dear friends️. The sweetness of getting exactly what you asked for and needed 💖

    While in Ho Chi Minh over the week of my birthday, I had meaningful visits to 2 museums: the War Remnants museum and the Southern Vietnam Women's Museum. The former left me with a black sadness and incandescent rage, and the latter inspired me to dream of how I would curate a hypothetical Malaysian National Women's Museum. (If anyone wants to take the ideas below and either collaborate with me on making it happen or running with it for their own project, by all means, please just credit me and don’t take these images / text without permission)

    Text of 3 instagram stories, mainly text laid over images of displays from the SVWM: I would like my Malaysian Women’s Museum to have a) a reading and resource library b) permanent exhibition charting the history of our women’s involvement in nation building, their achievements in all fields (with comprehensive representation c) involve as much of these women’s own voices as possible d) multimedia tools: videos, audio guides, multilingual texts, accompanying reference books in exhibition rooms e) training programme for docents with scholarships for those from marginalised communities f) active programming to contextualise the exhibitions and the progression of various movements g) an interactive space or platform for people to talk about the malaysian women they look up to and have discussions g) adjacent gallery space to feature women artists and art h) display info and content from and by cis and trans women as well as non-binary folk. Dwelling on so many random details like how to make a non-segregated prayer space that allows for privacy, the break room for all the staff, whether we charge for the rolling thematic exhibitions, how to be transparent and handle corporate sponsorships, what’s our security plan. Re: curation and content, the thoughts are more nebulous. How do we approach and feature domestic work, how do we highlight migrant women workers (many of whom are as Malaysian as anybody!!!)
  • Being part of Tugu Kita / Our Monument (FB link), a participatory art performance organised and dreamed by Sharon Chin, one of my favourite artists. I wrote a bit about my experience here. Something I didn't say there was that one of my favourite parts was watching the banners unfurl and overhearing a couple next to me wondering what this was all about, and getting the chance to offer an explanation, to show them the poem Sharon wrote, and hearing them say "Oh, I see now" as they looked at the work again. You can read here an English translation of her poem by writer Zedeck Siew. 


Transcript

Writing a newsletter during my birthday month has proven to be a bit tricky. There's a desire both to have it MEAN something and also for it not to be a high pressure situation because who needs that ever, least of all the month of their birthday, especially if you're a Leo Sun and that shit capital M matters to you!

So I had two ideas I used to guide me through this, which is to write about The Star, a very important Major Arcana card for me, and to finally test out this audio recording thing on Substack. (I’m not about to call it a podcast, that’s not what it is) I feel like using my voice here allows me to be a bit more casual, a bit more free, and lightness is a big theme for me when it comes to The Star. 

The Star is one of two cards I pulled for this quarter of the year when I did my year ahead spread back in December. It's also a card I have literally tattooed on my body - please don't tell my dad. Another thing about The Star I find really important is, it's the card that comes right after The Tower, in the sequence of the Major Arcana. 

The Tower has that reputation within tarot, if you know about it, of being scary and devastating and turbulent and massively life changing. If you've never seen it, it's traditionally depicted as a stone tower of sorts, maybe it's made of wood or any other type of material, and there's lightning striking it and it's essentially breaking in half and it's on fire and people are falling from it. So, scary, devastating, and turbulent and massively life changing. It's scary because it's uncontrollable and unpredictable, and it shakes you up. It's not quite a curtain call like Death, I see it more like a blackout in the middle of a theatre as you watch a play. An interruption that changes what you see, and introduces the idea that what you'll see after the light comes back on might not be what you expect or what was there before. In the Slow Holler deck, they renamed it The Storm. Often when I draw it in a read, I think of earthquakes. 

I want to go back to that idea of interruption, when it comes to The Tower. A lot of us aren't great with interruptions - we find them inconvenient and bothersome. We bemoan our bodies' capacities when we get sick and our to do list gets derailed, we stress when other people don't act how we want or need them to because it throws off our plans and our needs, unexpected questions that undo what we expect make us antsy. A lot of us cope through avoidance; I know I do. We barrel through, we steamroller over, we ride roughshod through the yearning and the raw and the hurt so we can fast forward to the easy and the gentle and the joy. 

Something I've come to appreciate so much more in my late 20s and now early 30s - and if you know me well enough you've probably heard me bring it up a million times cause I'm corny AND repetitive - and what that is, is being present. If you've ever suffered loss, it can feel at times like your life after loss, no matter the length and duration, can always be thought of as after disaster. Whatever happens is kind of flattened because it happened after, in spite of, because, following. Sometimes you feel like everything is second best, because what was best was what you had, before it changed, before it was “ruined”. The Star to me is an antidote against that flavour of despair. It occupies the interruption, the pause of treating life like all it is is destinations, and it transforms it into presence. Into being with the hard shit - the yearning, the raw, the hurt, and seeing that those things sit right alongside the ease, the gentle, the joy. The Star really disrupts the rush hour traffic of your life - imagine our highways turned into fields, and imagine having nowhere to be except for under the wide open sky, on the fragrant, lush grass. 

In a lot of the traditional depictions of The Star, they're pouring water from two jugs, one into a stream, and one onto the verdant ground. In my tattoo, she also has one foot dipped into the flow of the stream. The Star is of a piece of everything that was broken and rebuilt and broken again, The Star flows and receives. I've had the immense privilege of never having (directly) experiencing a natural disaster or the aftermath*, never having experienced something like a storm or an earthquake taking something away from me. I can only imagine the immense overwhelm of rebuilding, the weight of the day to day when the only first step forward if that you might have to abandon the home you knew and everything it contained. As I write this, in 2019, deep in the belly of an international climate crisis, I realise the clock's running out on this story of mine and soon I might not have to imagine. 

All that said, who amongst us has not experienced loss? It's something we're all very very familiar with. If The Star is about being present, then the energy of that card is accessible to you any time you remind yourself you're breathing. Any time you ask, if I am not what was before and I am not what I will be after - which is something no one can know - then who and what and how am I now? What does it mean for me to be? What does it mean for me to be both broken and whole, both a part of the world and a world in myself? 

So those are my ruminations on The Star. Tell me what you guys think: should I do this again? Should I do it in a different format? I was thinking this would be great for asking for questions from people and doing reads for them. So that I can just pull a card and kind of stream of consciousness read it out and record it and share it on the newsletter. But yeah let me know what you think, and if anybody wants to see the tattoo, honestly just email me unless you're my dad in which case please forget everything you've ever heard - okay! Thanks so much for listening. I hope you have a wonderful day wherever you are. 

*When I wrote / said this I was imagining floods, earthquakes, typhoons, forest fires. We have those here in Malaysia to an extent, and we also have haze which I’m more familiar with, immense amounts of trash shipped here from other countries, choking up our land and waters, so much of our iconic flora and fauna are going extinct or shrinking fast from industry and deforestation etc etc. Of course I’m affected as a person who lives here. What’s being taken away from me as an individual and as a citizen isn’t as tangible or big (yet) but it’s still being taken away.


Previously, I wrote about the things I love about being a Leo. If you'd like to subscribe, click here. If you like what I write and share and want to support that, here’s my tip jar. Please feel free to share this newsletter with a friend 💌


The Sun and the 8 of Cups

'tis the season

Things I Like About Being a Leo

  • The depth and breadth of my self belief

  • I am able to ask for care and love and believe I am worthy and deserving of both

  • I do not believe my needs are unreasonable

  • I nurture trust in my own voice

  • I believe I am a good leader and teacher, and that this is a way in which I can connect and contribute

  • I know what I'm good at and the work that went into that

  • Humility to me is not self-deprecation, my confidence comes from having a firm certainty of my value

  • I share my fears and my bravery with others when I can and sometimes doing that helps them sit with fear and be brave too

  • I am my best advocate

  • I stand up for what I care about

  • And I care very very deeply

  • I love with the largeness of my heart (it's why I hurt easy)

  • My most sincere desire is to live forever in the hearts of my soulmates, no matter the distance and time between us

  • I look out for my loves, who can count on me to show up for them

  • I keep love for myself in constant supply

  • I know what I don't like and I am not good at pretending to like what I don't like

  • Good 🗣 Voice 🗣 Projection

  • I am deft at commanding attention

  • I am well-practiced at making my loved ones laugh

  • Listen, I make a lot of people laugh!!!!

  • I feel so very constantly blessed and also in strong relationship and dialogue with my blessings and privilege

  • I am getting better at deflecting the projections of others from my truth of who I am

  • My use of disclaimers keeps decreasing with age

  • My hair, in all its forms, has always looked good and will only ever keep looking better

(photo source)

Things That Are Hard

I’ve been counting the months and days to the end of the year. I think something this year is really teaching me is the shape and value of hard work. I do not mean labour, or my full time job, and I do not denigrate the various types of work and labour I’ve done up to now. I am talking about sheer effort, about a stick-to-itiveness where the it is living through something difficult, knowing it will be difficult all the way up until it ends (whatever that looks like). I know the end I have in mind, and while some friends know it’s not something I can share openly yet; only that the goal is the end of the calendar year (fingers crossed).

This year has made me think that what I’ve been used to is abandoning the path when it gets too rocky. I can’t remember the last time I’ve committed so fully to sticking to something (for like, a considerable amount of time for me! definitely more than a few months) that’s so difficult for me in so many ways, in the hopes that the experience of going through it will both honour why I chose it in the first place and some of the salvageable “benefits” I hoped to gain, as well as my hope that it won’t totally drain me dead by the time I’m done with it, so I can then dream and build a life that makes me happier. It’s not about being scared and facing that, you see. It’s like swimming for a very long time with the idea of land somewhere past the horizon. In those muscle burning lead limbed hours where my lungs are full of salt and my eyes full of nothing but blue, there is serenity, despair, and grief. The year’s been long, but it’s only now I’ve had the space to acknowledge what’s been lost (friendships, the shape of family, home foundations, old rhythms and connections, a different way to act) and even start thinking of how to reckon with it.

A part of me is like, maybe the last time I felt this stick-to-itiveness was doing Honours (lol academia), like surely I’ve experienced this before right, and maybe I have but it doesn’t matter now because that was then and what’s immediate and now and pressing and hard and ongoing is here, it’s this year, it’s this loss and this hope, it’s me counting, me living, me waking up every morning, waiting for the day I wake up to the end, to what comes after the hard work.


Things That Are Good

  • I met Nidhi I believe 2-3 years ago at a feminist convening, where I got to read tarot cards for them by the ocean. They write an amazing weekly newsletter which I look up to as a standard for newsletters, in its soft sharings and openness. July 9’s includes bits of conversation on what “being there” for others looks like, and includes a little something from me (S2!)

  • Annika was the first and best friend I made in Melbourne when I studied there, and it was her birthday last week. I sent a short, belated email to her with a wish, and she sent back an email like an envelope of crisp scented air, like a portal into her warm home and snorting joyous laugh. I’m still snickering at She said, with eyes narrowed, “you look too young to have students that age” and I said “thanks for the compliment” but upon anxiety-overthinking I wish I had Maeby Funke-d it: “marry me” and swooning at it gave me a pang of missing you, your intelligence, quick wit, level headed advice and views, your heart and your head 💗

  • Dhany sent me a #leoszn meme and then told me “You are SO intimidating in a cool kakak kelas way!! Big janeane garofalo energy ✨✨” and geez isn’t that something to live up to 🥰

  • The light play from the current set up of our altar:

  • My birthday’s coming soon, which I always love (It’s the 9th! And I have a wishlist). But this year I’ve also had some attendant anxieties about how to celebrate it, which is rare. My dearest wish is to have everyone I care about in one place, with food and drink and merriment, and for various reasons this is not possible. I thought of an alternative thing, and then felt self conscious about it, and then the anxiety spiralled and then I was like, fUcK, but now I’m back to you know what I’m just going to go for it - what I would LOVE for my birthday this year, would be to get love letters or notes from my friends and friendly acquaintances* all those near and far and with different types of distance and closeness between us. This is a kind of way to have you all in one room, like you already are in my heart. I’ll respond to each one however I can. Thank you, no pressure, I love you already and still and always.

*If you’re thinking, Me? Look into your heart OR in our previous correspondence to see if you would call yourself this 🌸

Previously, I wrote about The Chariot (did you catch me using Gavin DeGraw lyrics). If you'd like to subscribe, click here. If you like what I write and share and want to support that, here’s my tip jar. Please feel free to share this newsletter with a friend 💌

The Chariot

the sun was just yellow energy

Like an overworked bread dough, I've spent too long futzing with the idea of this latest newsletter and now it's tough and close textured and kinda flat but I really want to get something out for June so I'm just going to remember that I started this as a low stakes low pressure writing project and here we go.

This month saw me going to 5 different locations (last one on this coming Saturday) in and around Klang Valley to do pay what you can tarot readings for mostly strangers. It was a really interesting experience, and I loved that through planning it I was leaning into the social energies of Gemini season (I'm usually a real homebody who speaks to the same like, 4 people every day). Surprising nobody I’m sure, everyone came to the cards essentially asking for direction, and to know what was ahead. So often people come to get tarot readings when they're not sure what else to do, when they feel stuck, or like they want to cash in one of their last hope tokens to see if something, anything, can move them from where they are. 

The Chariot came up a bit, more often than it usually does in the readings I do - for others, or myself. I note this only because sometimes I have a hard time figuring out how to articulate The Chariot beyond the usually platitudes of movement and direction and momentum. I wish often I could convey instead the mental movie montage I invoke when the card shows up: of the scenery passing you by as your train rockets forward, as the hissing of rushing wind past your ears, as the vast unrolling of the hours on a long road trip when your body and the bodies of your fellow travellers become one with the road, the vehicle, the landscape, all movement. 

In reading this column called Ask a Cancer: Why Do You Cry So Much?, I found out that The Chariot is actually associated with the zodiac sign Cancer! Which I'm sure I've heard about before but had forgot entirely until now. I'm not that interested in the interpretations I could find through a cursory search on what this means, so I'll share something I loved from the column instead (read the whole thing, it's pretty good). 

Gala describes the cyclical growth of a crab, and how they outgrow their shells and undertake a vulnerable molting process to leave that old home and build/find themselves a new one that fits. Here’s Stephanie K. Hopkins' answer, in part:

"What strikes me most is how in this molting phase, the old becomes acutely visible against the new. Before, the old was just the way things are. But suddenly, the old is revealed as a story. Sometimes, I dive into change impulsively, but then I often end up in the same story with different circumstances. It's the slower change, the fully molted one, the one that often feels painful and endless as it's happening, that ends up sticking. But first I've got to be in the uncomfortable stage of being both old and new for a bit. For example, maybe I'm leaving behind an old story about "strength as toughness" and growing into a new story about "strength as having the courage to be receptive," but I catch myself applying the old value of toughness to this new way of being when I give myself a hard time for not being receptive enough."

Maybe this is also Chariot energy, being caught in the tension of what you're leaving (without feeling perhaps like you’ve completely left) and what you're heading towards (whether you know it or not, whether it materializes or not). In those baking backseats, in those cushioned train seats holding paper cups of slightly-too-bitter tea, in the recycled air of an plane gliding over clouds, there is a sense of being nowhere in the bigger story of going somewhere. Arrival feels mildly implausible, but it is hoped for. 

There's a nothingness to the Chariot, for me. The blankness of external velocity being enacted upon your physical form. Movement, yes, the will to move, yes. But also a kind of surrendering, to the momentum. The Chariot of the Slow Holler deck, one of my favourites, depicts a figure lying in the bed of their truck with their dog, looking up at the stars. And that's perhaps the closest visual depiction I've found so far of how I feel about this card. It reminds me of another favourite of mine, this line from the song Hymn, by Fleurieanxious in my roaming, stranded on the move.

There's a searching in that nothingness of the Chariot, a waiting, a silent challenge in that waiting for the Universe to show you something, to move you from wherever you are and show you all of this (whatever this is for you) is worth it. Eventually, someday, maybe soon, soon enough so you can stop and rest your feet for once, and rest your anxious heart too.

Previously, I wrote about North and South Nodes and being an INFJ and some stuff that in hindsight also has Chariot energy. If you'd like to subscribe, click here. Please feel free to share this newsletter with a friend 💌

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