Week 12 Major Influences Spread (#TarotReading #HauntedHouseTarot #52WeekProject)

10 of Pentacles, 5 of Swords & 6 of Wands Rx from The Haunted House Tarot by Sasha Graham

I felt rather overwhelmed and befuddled this past week.  I’m still trying to get things resolved with regard to a housing situation for my brother-in-law or, rather, I’m waiting for the Department of Social Services to do so.  I realized they are a bureaucracy, and as such move at a glacial pace, however I have reached the end of my rope and can no longer sustain the current situation.  I am in the process of selling my mother-in-law’s house and once that is accomplished my brother-in-law needs to be gone.  I’m trying not to be harsh about the situation but I’ve been doing this for a year and a half with absolutely no relief and have reached the end of my internal resources.  It came to a head earlier this week when my brother-in-law’s caseworker asked me to postpone the sale.  To say you could have knocked me over with a feather would have been an understatement.  This has resulted in a bit of spiraling on my part so I decided I needed to get some clarity. 

I decided to try this Major Influences Spread by Nancy Antenucci that I found in 101 Tarot Spreads by 20 Modern Tarot Masters (Volume 1).  I like three card spreads because they’re simple enough to not be overwhelming and one can always pull additional cards for further clarification.  As you can see in the image above I drew the 10 of Pentacles, 5 of Swords and 6 of Wands reversed from The Haunted House Tarot by Sasha Graham.  I do so love when the Tarot gives me such a clear message.

So, in answer to what are the apparent known influences in this situation I drew the 10 of Pentacles.  The image in this card so perfectly fits my current situation that it’s unnerving.  One of my primary goals or motivations in this entire thing is getting moved back into my house before winter starts.  I had originally hoped to be there by Halloween but that is clearly not happening.  I’m tentatively hopeful that I will be there by Thanksgiving, but I think it might be more realistic to hope that I can celebrate Thanksgiving in the house, even if I’m not fully moved in yet.  So this image of a snow covered house with a happy family card in the foreground exactly expresses my motivations, desires and goals.

This 5 of Swords card is a bit unnerving because the figure in the foreground holding the knife looks like a man dressed in an old-fashioned nurse outfit.  He seems to be holding the knife and staring at the heroine of the piece, but it’s difficult to tell his intent.  I think this is to remind me that, while I am frustrated with DSS’s seeming lack of action up to this point, I’m not really sure what’s going on behind the scenes.  All might not be as it appears to me.  I’m sure there is a lot of behind the scenes negotiating and planning, to which I’m not privy, attempting to resolve this situation.  And, as a dear friend reminded me during this week, this is nothing personal against me.  As far as DSS is concerned, I’m actually rather irrelevant to this process.  I’m the caregiver that provides direct services, but how it impacts me is really not their priority.  I don’t have to like it but I also should be careful not to take it as a personal attack because then my responses create negative situations that don’t need to occur.

The 6 of Wands reversed reminds me that this isn’t a personal battle or a personal attack.  As I mentioned in the previous card, this is more about bureaucracies that are underfunded and understaffed trying to do the best with the resources available to them and make sure it is in the best interest of their clients.  I’m not their client so I’m just not their priority. If my need and interests intersect with theirs that’s great. If not, they’re not as cooperative. It isn’t an attack on me.  If I can take the sense of personal attack out of it, I might be able to handle things in a calmer and more rational manner.  At the same time, I think this card is reminding me not to abandon my needs either.  I don’t have to go gently into that good night, and it’s important that I advocate for myself and my needs. I also need to be cautious about acting like Bam Bam Rubble, smashing anything in my way to emerge victorious. Remembering that these representatives of government agencies are not trying to prevent me from achieving my goals and desires, they’re merely trying to ensure my brother in law’s needs are being met as well. No one actually triumphs in this situation; it’s more a case of the best possible outcome.

Overall this reading help me clarify some of the issues that have been bedeviling me this past week.  Ultimately I will get moved into my home and this house will be sold. My brother-in-law will be placed in a safe facility that can meet his needs.  Both our lives will go forward. I need to be cautious not to let incorrect interpretations and misunderstandings create a hostile and negative relationship with these government agencies because that will not help this process.  At the same time it’s perfectly fair for me to say that my needs matter too and I am not a doormat.  I have every right to say enough is enough, and they need to do whatever is necessary to ensure that my brother-in-law is placed somewhere once this house is sold.  That’s not me being selfish, that’s me looking out for my own health and well-being and survival.

Week 11 Caring for Myself (#TarotReading #DarkWoodTarot #52WeekProject)

Last week’s left me wondering how I could follow the message of the Page of Cups – taking better care of myself listening to my inner self. So I decided this week that would be the focus of my question. I kind of loosely envisioned the positions as Body, Mind and Spirit, but I wasn’t focused on those positions when I pulled the cards. Of course, as is so often the case in my relationship with Tarot and this deck in particular, I didn’t need to focus on positions to get the message I needed to hear.

The World, The Sun and 10 of Swords from Sasha Graham’s Dark Wood Tarot

The first thing that struck me about all three of these cards that they’re female, which I love. It makes it that much more personal for me. Two of these women are entirely nude, which reminds me that the best way to actually make myself a priority is to be completely honest with myself; to bare my soul, no matter how frightening that might seem. The figure in the final card wears a very revealing dress which suggests she is in the process of baring herself in order to move on to the next level.

The World reminds me that it’s time to make my physical health a priority; to make it the center of my focus. For many years my own health and physical needs have been put on a back burner and I’ve suffered the consequences of that choice. If I want to move forward from a place of health and wellness, I need to focus on eating well and being more physically active. I want to get to a place where I’m as proud of my physical self as the woman on this card.

The Sun, a card for which my Leo Sun has a strong affinity, shows me that my mindset also needs a shift so that once again I understand that it’s okay to make myself a priority. To move forward with a healthy mindset, and let go of the guilt and responsibility that have been holding me down for the last few years, I need to accept that it’s my time to shine; my time to be in the Sun. It’s okay to shine and not hide my light because I might be worried about other people will think. The Sun also reminds me that it’s okay to be warmed by the recognition and praise of others. I’m often very resistant to compliments. The Sun reminds me that there’s nothing wrong with having one’s achievements recognized.

The 10 of Swords suggest that this might be the most challenging part of my journey, the one I struggle with the hardest. At the same time, it may be the most achievable because it’s the one requiring the most practical steps. This will require me to face all those inner demons and slay them; to make my own journey into the darkness of my soul like Inanna. I have a feeling it’s going to be like lancing a boil or removing a splinter – initially painful, but ultimately necessary to allow healing.

Overall I find this reading very positive and a reminder that many of the things I’m struggling with right now can be changed by a shifting of mindset and being more positive and gentle with myself. Pounding myself into submission isn’t the answer to this situation. It requires a more subtle, sharp, Swords approach rather than my usual blunt, Wands approach. If I can follow the advice of this reading I think it will produce a hugely positive outcome which will produce long term, life changing benefits.

Week 10 Get a Clue Spread (#TarotReading #DarkWoodTarot #52WeekProject)

Get a Clue Spread by Nancy Antenucci from 101 Tarot Spreads by 20 Modern Tarot Masters (Volume 1) + The Hermit, 6 of Pentacles Rx and Page of Cups from The Dark Wood Tarot by Sasha Graham

The Hermit is telling me that what I truly know is how to be alone; how to handle things by myself. I know how to explore new territory in a search for answers and knowledge. I truly know how to rely on no one but myself. I know how to shoulder a burden and continue moving forward despite the cost. It’s a very short trip from self-reliance and solitude to isolation and loneliness.

The 6 of Pentacles Rx shows that I’m clueless about asking for or accepting help. As The Hermit shows, I’m comfortable, maybe too comfortable, going it alone. Asking for help has often seemed like a devil’s bargain to me. Often this is because when I have asked for help in the past it is either reluctantly or begrudgingly given or, after promising to help, people don’t follow through. At his often left me feeling like a character in Oliver Twist with my hand out asking “please may I have some more”. I’m clueless about accepting that people will be honest when I ask for help, and if they’re unable to do so will let me know. I’m clueless about accepting did people really do want to help when they offer. This is definitely a learning process for me.

The Page of Cups is showing me that what will help me transform my cluelessness into awareness is listening to my heart, my inner voice; being kinder and gentler with myself. It also shows me that I need to relearn how to be more heart centered, and focused. I need to reconnect with my emotionally vulnerable inner core, which is something I’ve never been comfortable doing.

Overall, this reading reminds me that while self-reliance and independence can be positive traits, they can also become negative traits when it makes one unable to ask for or accept help. It also reminds me that sometimes you have to be willing to be emotionally vulnerable in order to establish positive, healthy, reciprocal relationships. Reality is that always giving or always being the one who helps creates an imbalance in relationships. Denying people the opportunity to provide support and assistance can create resentment and strain, and may even eventually damage the relationship. If I want to avoid this I need to work at establishing a more balanced give and take in my relationships.

The solitude and isolation of The Empress (#TheEmpress #Tarot)

The Empress from Lol Scarabeo’s The Secrets Tarot

I was looking at this card today and struck by how lonely and isolated the Empress appears to be. Despite the fact that she is surrounded by the trappings of her empire, she’s alone. The expression on this Empress’ face seems to emphasize a sense of distance and a lack of connection to what’s around her. This made me realize that despite the fact that she is seen as a symbol of abundance and fertility The Empress is almost always alone. I realize most of the figures in the Major Arcana are alone, but I never got a sense of them actually being lonely before. I think it’s the expression on this Empress’ face that brought it to my attention.

I suppose it makes sense that the Major Arcana figures are alone in their cards because, in truth, if it represents our life journey that is something we have to experience alone. Like Dorothy in her journey through Oz, we may be accompanied by others but they cannot complete the journey for us. I firmly believe that humans learn best by experiencing things first hand. So, allowing others to complete tasks for us would defeat the purpose. At the same time, we may discover, after having completed a particular journey, that the outcome was nothing like what we expected. Perhaps that explains the rather wistful, almost melancholic, expression on this Empress’ face.

The Lady – The DruidCraft Tarot

The Lady in the DruidCraft Tarot shows a similar introspective expression. Perhaps she is focused on the changes her body is going through, or wondering how motherhood will change her life. She does not seem very involved in external things going on around her. She reminds me of Mia Farrow’s character in Rosemary’s Baby. There’s a scene when Rosemary is trying to seek help from her OB/GYN and instead of helping he calls her husband who is the source of some of her concern. I think Farrow does a great job of expressing the vulnerability and helplessness a heavily pregnant woman must feel. All of her concerns are brushed off as being the result of pregnancy-induced hallucinations or paranoia or hormones. She’s treated like a child who is incapable of making an intelligent decision about anything. She is living in an unfamiliar building, completely isolated from people who might be able to help her. Perhaps that’s the shadow side of The Empress’ energies – in order to be that fecund and fertile one is also extremely vulnerable. Perhaps this is why I have never found myself drawn to The Empress’ energies.

Of course, I suppose when humans lived a more tribal lifestyle a pregnant woman would not have been isolated. She would have been cared for and honored by the tribe. But in modern American society, where we are so quick to enshrine rugged individualism as admirable and something to emulate, a woman at her most vulnerable is instead isolated and her pregnancy treated as an illness. I suppose I can’t blame these Empresses for looking less than thrilled. Or perhaps the very nature of motherhood is isolating, not from other people but from oneself. If The Empress represents the archetypal mother and raising children, when done well, requires all of one’s focus, this has to create a distance from the person one was before motherhood. I know when I finished menopause and looked back over that time in my life when I could have had children if I chose to, I realize I don’t recognize that person. Perhaps Mother Nature gave us hormones to make us more willing to compromise in order to protect and raise the children. Once that’s not a concern anymore, we revert back to a more independent, individual sense of ourselves. Or maybe I’m delusional. The truth is I’ve never understood the urge to have children so a lot of this is theory on my part.

Week 9 The Mystery School Spread (#TarotReading #DarkWoodTarot #52WeekProject)

This spread is from Sasha Graham’s 365 Tarot Spreads. The Mystery School Spread’s cards are cast in a circle, symbol of wholeness, unity, and infinity:


1. How can I transform my consciousness? The Wheel of Fortune

2. What specific action can I take to awaken energy in my body? 9 of Pentacles Rx

3. What dormant ability lies within me? Knight of Swords Rx

4. What experience do I need to have? 4 of Pentacles

5. What knowledge waits for me? 4 of Swords Rx

6. How does my experience of life change as a result? 6 of Pentacles Rx

The Wheel of Fortune points out that change is the only way to transform my consciousness. Fighting against the cycles of changes futile and yet it is something in which I have engaged the majority of my life. I dig in my heels shake my head and stubbornly insist, “No, no, no!” At the same time, when I have accepted and embraced the change I have learned things about myself, knowledge I would never have acquired without experiencing the changes.

The 9 of Pentacles Rx is showing that the specific action I need to take to awaken my body is to actually pay attention to my body. Instead of being distracted by stuff and things I need to look within myself and listen to what my body is telling me it needs. Whether that is healthier food, more exercise, or more downtime and relaxation, if I don’t take proper care of my physical being how can I expect to have any energy at all.

The Knight of Swords Rx reminds me that my dormant ability is an ability to strategize and plan. Right now, I’ve lost sight of that because I’ve made a few decisions based on stress that ultimately bit me on the behind. That leaves me feeling off balance and foolish. I also realize that there is a limit to my energy level. Trying to do too much at one time depletes it much quicker, leaving me exhausted and burnt out. Recognizing this and delegating these tasks to other people that can help me is smart. Despite the fact that I feel like a failure because I can’t do it myself, this reminds me that it is probably the smartest thing I can do and I need to stop beating myself up about it.

The 4 of Pentacles shows me that the experience I need to have is one of conserving my resources. I need to prioritize my own needs the way I would someone else’s. For the last few years other people’s needs of taking precedence above my own and that needs to stop. I need to treat my energy like the precious resource it is;conserve it, value it, and use it wisely.

The 4 of Swords Rx reveals that the knowledge waiting for me is one of inner peace, solitude and learning how to truly be alone. I haven’t truly been alone my entire life, especially not in the last 13 years. I have always either lived with family or with my husband. The next phase is going to be quite a learning one for me because I’m going to have to learn to be completely independent. I’m going to have to learn to ask people for help because there will be no one here to step in and shoulder the burden without my doing so. It’s a rather frightening prospect but an exhilarating one as well.

According to the 6 of Pentacles Rx my experience in life will change how I look at the give and take of things. Sometimes we give to those who prove undeserving or receive aid from those we’ve never helped. Sometimes, it may not seem fair but I need to be true to my values regardless of others behaviors. At the same time I think this is a reminder that being cautious and slightly skeptical is not necessarily a bad thing. I think this ties in with the message of the 4 of Pentacles that I need to learn how to conserve my resources.

Overall this reading has reinforced some things that I already knew but needed reminding. I often find that when my own thoughts are the most chaotic, Tarot will help the universe remind me of my truth and clarify where I need to focus my energies.

Week 8 The (Un)Stuck Spread (#TarotReading #DarkWoodTarot #52WeekProject)

I’ve been feeling spectacularly stupid lately. I’m second-guessing myself and questioning every decision I make. Much of this is the result of a bad judgment call I made a few weeks ago, prepaying someone for a job that hadn’t been completed yet. That person is now demanding more money to complete the work that should have been covered by the original payment. This is made me feel I’m on shaky ground, and caused me to feel like the first class fool. So I decided to do what I always do when I feel this way – work with my Tarot deck. I found the spread below in Sheilaa Hite Presents 101 Tarot Spreads by 20 Modern Tarot Masters Vol 1. I don’t necessarily need to explore why I feel foolish but how I can get rid of that sensation.

The Knight of Wands Rx reveals the I need to let go of the idea that I can handle things the way I could when I was younger or when I had John. I just don’t have the same energy level that I had when I was in my 30s or even 40s. The book offers this tidbit “Small issues steal focus from productive energy”. I think this is another way of saying that my energy is so scattered that I can’t focus on anything right now. I need to focus my energies on what’s really important and break free of the distractedness that is sapping my resolve. The truth is I’m not a good multitasker. So, instead of fighting against myself I need to start handling things one issue at a time and then move on to the next one.

The tower is a reminder that I’ve experienced three dramatic life-altering stressful issues all at once. That’s not an easy thing to process, and I need to allow myself to take the time necessary to process it. I haven’t fully processed John’s death. Trying to arrange for Edward to be settled somewhere, and selling this house on top of that is probably much too ambitious right now. Dealing with any one of these issues right now would be a challenge; trying to handle all three at once is insanity.

The Star is telling me that there is always hope. It always seems darkest before the dawn, but eventually there will be healing and a Star to guide me on my way. It’s something that can sustain me when things feel overwhelming.

The 4 of Pentacles Rx is reminding me that I need to work on not holding so tightly to things; not to be pennywise and pound foolish. I also think it’s a reminder not to ignore my own health and physical needs, which has been easy to do with what’s been going on.

It’s ironic, this reading told me exactly what I needed to hear right now to kickstart me and help me feel unstuck. It’s always fun when the Tarot gives me a smack upside the head and reality check.