Who Would I Be if I Was Not Me? (#Tarot #LightSeer’s)

I was recently reading a work of fan fiction in which the protagonist developed amnesia. The story focuses on learning who you are all over again, both the good aspects and the bad.  This made me wonder how I would feel about myself if I woke up with all my skills and knowledge but no memories of my past, of who I was.  As I slowly learned about myself, what would I think about that person?  Would I be disappointed by things I had done?  Would I be proud of what I achieved?  So, I decided to work with my tried & true standby, my Tarot deck, to find an answer.

  • What positive aspects of the old me would I like?  10 of Swords Rx
  • What negative aspect of the old me would be disappointing?  3 of Wands Rx
  • How can I change that which should be changed?  – 6 of Swords
  • What part of me would be changed the most if I had amnesia?  Knight of Cups
  • So, who would I be?  Page of Swords

The 10 of Swords Rx speaks to me of being a survivor; someone who is able to take a beating and keep on going, endure being stabbed in the back.  There is strength, stubbornness and beauty in this image.  She is not easily defeated and will continue on her journey despite any and all objections.  I do think this is a quality I embody and it’s one of which I’m very proud.  I think I’ve taken a lot of knocks in life; triumphed over a number of disadvantages and keep moving forward.
The 3 of Wands Rx suggest that one of my less admirable qualities is that I’m not a self-starter; I will often let self doubt and insecurity undermine pursuing my goals, my dreams.  I often became enthusiastically involved in projects other people have begun but rarely initiate them myself.  This means I’m pretty good at helping other people achieve their dreams, but lousy at pursuing my own.
The 6 of Swords reminds me that what I need to change is my focus and my willingness to pursue my own ideas.  When I look at this image the woman in the boat has harnessed crows and has them pulling her across the water. She is alone, doing this by herself.  The birds off in the distance are distraction, not part of her journey.  This card reminds me that I can do it by myself, I just need to be focused and trust in my own ideas, my own thoughts.  I can’t allow myself to get distracted by self-doubt, inner critics or other people’s input.
The Knight of Cups shows me that without the life history I have had, I would be more open on an emotional level and more willing to pursue my hopes and dreams.  I wouldn’t be so suspicious and emotionally closed off.  Even looking at the image on this card I want to mock him and feel contempt for him.  My initial reaction to this image is that he’s a poser, that this is an act to seduce someone into trusting him.  Of course that tells you more about my state of mind and frame of reference than about this card.
The Page of Swords as a reminder that if I were able to let go of my defense mechanisms and protective weapons developed to prevent and protect me from harm, I would be a perpetual student.  I would maintain a youthful enthusiasm for learning new ideas and experiencing new things.
I think if nothing else, the take away from this reading is that if I can let my defenses down a bit and listen to my inner self, I’ll find more joy and fulfillment in my life.  Being a bit more trusting and open might bring untold benefits and satisfaction.

The Tenacity of The Star (#LightSeer’s #Tarot)

This card was actually drawn on January 23rd but it took me a couple of days to process it. I see it as the flip side to The Devil card that I drew on the 22nd and the reading I did in my previous post.

Having The Star appear so closely after The Devil shows that hope and healing are still possible even after such a harrowing experience. We can still find a light in the darkness no matter how how intense and overwhelming that Darkness might seem.

So, in exploring The Star’s message I pulled chords to answer the following questions:

  1. How can we reinforce the thread of Hope offered in The Star? 2 of Cups Rx
  2. What will heal the wounds left by The Devil? Temperance
  3. How can we shine brightly again? 6 of Cups
  4. What is the bright side to be found in this experience? The Magician Rx

What struck me about the reverse 2 of cups is that the image digests one way to re-enforce The Hope and healing shown in the store is by sharing our love and emotions, which we might usually keep between close friends and family or romantic partners, with others. We need to learn to embrace those that might be different and love them anyway. I may no longer practice Catholicism but the energy of this car reminds me very much of Jesus’s teachings to love one another as we would want to be loved; to turn the other cheek and forgive those who have hurt us. Such a simple but powerful message and one that I think will ultimately serve us all in the long run.

Temperance speaks of being forged into a stronger people. Using our differences as strength instead of a method to divide us. if we can move past the need to assign blame we can instead work to respect each other’s opinions and appreciate what we eat bring to the table two for joy nation into a place stronger, better and healthier than it has been in the past. It will not be an easy process and will require a lot of pounding out issues, smoothing disagreements and cooling tempers but if we truly wish it to be it can be done.

The 6 of Cups reminds us that we can shine brightly by growing up and accepting that the past is the past. We can’t allow nostalgic tunnel vision to blind us to the fact that things are different now and we need to adjust. The good old days were probably not as good as we remember and we can make a future that will be brighter as a result of facing that reality. We can also look at who we once were and try to become the person that our younger, more idealistic, self hoped and thought we would be. Or more simply put, be the person your dog thinks you are. Sometimes we let reality beat us down and loose sight of our better, higher selves. If this experience has taught us nothing else, it’s shown us how important it is to hold onto that side of our nature rather than wallowing in our most venal petty nature.

And finally we have The Magician Rx. I can’t think of a clearer way to show that the bright side we can find in this experience is to not submit ourselves to the will of others. Even if we agree with the beliefs and dictates of the people in power, that doesn’t mean we should unquestioningly follow their lead. The unfortunate truth is that people in positions of authority can quite easily abuse it. If we do not challenge them and hold them accountable, we might as well be cult members or living in a dictatorship. It has been said by wiser minds than mine that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” and I think that’s the message The Magician Rx offers us. We can’t rest on our laurels and trust those in positions of authority to always have our best interests at heart. We can’t let them drive things forward without demanding accountability and explanations. We can’t be mindless sheep or we risk losing everything we claim to value.

One of the visual themes that struck me in all of these cards is the transferring of energy. Whether it is energy coming from the universe to us, from us to others, or from us to the universe, each card seems to show this exchange in one form or another. To me, this represents the beauty and simplicity of “as above so below” and “as below so above”. We reap what we sow. The wolf we feed is the one that grows larger. These are warnings we have heard at various points which I think are very appropriate right now. if we want to heal as a nation then that’s where we need to focus on energy not on continuing to demonise or villainize one side over the other. This doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t be called to account for the wrongs they have perpetrated simply that we need to focus as much or more energy on moving forward and healing. I guess at it’s core, that’s what The Star offers us – the chance to move beyond The Devil’s traps and temptations towards healing and light.

#MessageoftheDay – 7 of Cups Rx, 2 of Wands & 8 of Cups (#MoonGarden #Tarot)

Today I focused on how to deal with the crazy because, to be perfectly honest, each new day convinces me even more that everyone is going cuckoo bananas. I’m not even trying to engage in debates with people any more because it seems like we’ve all picked a side and rabidly defend it, including me.

Anyway, between daily stress, COVID stress and political stress, I’m feeling like a piece of taffy bring stretched beyond reason. So I asked my handy dandy, wibbly wobbly Tarot deck for some insight on how to handle this. The response I received:

These cards show me that it’s all smoke and mirrors; the promises and rewards being offered are illusions. I can’t see the truth because it’s obfuscated by spin, rhetoric & implicit biases. I can’t find my way to that castle on the hill because the path is clouded and impossible to navigate.

If I want to create something for myself; to start a new project or partnership then I need to focus on myself. I need to start putting together the foundation that will help me get there. I need to unleash the energy and magic that will reveal the right path for me.

And finally, I need to know when it’s time to walk away. At certain points I need to release my emotional attachments to things which no longer serve me or help me progress forward. Whether these attachments are possessions, memories or views of myself and those around me, it’s time to let go. A reality check is needed and rose colored glasses contribute to the cloudy, obscured path I’m trying to move passed.

#MessageoftheDay – 4 of Staffs, 8 of Pentacles & 3 of Swords (#MoonGarden # Tarot)

Today I focused on what will aid me in staying on course with my new journaling goals. I drew:


To me, this reading is a reminder to keep my creative energies focused and balanced; not to overdo things and run out of steam (a tendency of mine).  I also need to reflect along the way so I can fine tune what I’m doing.  To fully real the benefits I also need to be willing to poke at myself; apply my analytical, rational side to evaluating emotional responses to situations.  To make lasting changes in my life I’ll need to sometimes be harsh, almost cruel, in my honesty because repeating the same patterns defeats the purpose.

I’m still enthusiastic about this process but this reading reminds me it’s not all fun and games, at least not if I want lasting, impactful change.

#ChattingwithTarot – 10 of Pentacles, Queen of Pentacles + Strength (#Dreamkeepers #Tarot)

Hmm, yesterday I drew the Queen followed by the 10 of Pentacles, today it’s the other way ’round. So clearly these energies still need to be explored further.

I think, in this instance, my ancestors are showing me the path to inner strength. They’re reminding me that I need to shuck the persona I wear for others and reconnect with my true inner self. It’s time to stop pretending. The best way for me to fully manifest and fulfill all my potential is to focus on what’s important to me. I need to find what I believe truly matters, not focus on what other’s think should be important to me. Once I’ve nurtured my inner and outer selves, honored my physical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual sides then I will become truly strong. That’s when I’ll be honoring myself and my ancestors.

On being an outlier

I’m an outlier, an outsider, an oddball. I often don’t fit in even with groups to which I feel I belong. There is just something under my skin that become itchy when I try to fit in; be part of the group. I often joke that my motto is “Whatever it is, I’m against it” (thank you, Groucho Marx). In reality, it isn’t a joke. Even when it comes to opinions and stances which I share, I can’t help but argue the opposite position if I feel too many have jumped on the bandwagon. I don’t like to feel that I’m part of the majority opinion.  As Groucho also once said, “I wouldn’t want to join a club that would have me as a member.”

I’m not sure why I am this way but I tend to put it down to my parents exhorting me when I was a child not to do things simply because everyone else did. They encouraged me to trust my own opinions and not to be a follower. I may carry this a bit too far. This is both a blessing and a curse, allowing me to defend my positions despite others’ attitudes but also isolating me.

In order to get some clarity about this, I did a reading for myself.

Using the Wizards Tarot, I asked:

How does being an outlier serve me? Knight of Pentacles Rx
How does it hinder me? 2 of Cups Rx
What can I do with this information going forward? The Hierophant Rx

Being an outlier has been a way of protecting myself, of isolating myself before others could exile me. Of course, this also says a lot about some of the earlier relationships I had in my life. I did have occasions where those I believed were “friends” betrayed me or mocked me. It created a very weird dynamic and made me mistrustful and extremely cautious.

This mistrust and caution have also prevented me from forming closer friendships and emotional bonds. I do have friends but they are a small, select group. I don’t really do casual friendships which may explain why Facebook made me so twitchy. To paraphrase a friend of my hubby’s, if you haven’t seen me make a complete ass of myself at least once, you aren’t really my friend.

So, going forward I need to learn from these experiences; to be willing to use it as a learning opportunity. That doesn’t mean I have to change the way I am, simply that I should be more mindful and conscious of what I’m doing and why. Perhaps this will also serve as a tool for helping others who have similar issues.

I am Nobody

I am Nobody. Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Since first reading it, I have been drawn to Emily Dickinson’s poem “I am Nobody”. It speaks to me because I have often felt like a nobody. So I decided to pull a few Tarot cards to gain some insight. I decided to use the Allison M. Garcia Illustrated Blind Person Tarot that I discovered on Etsy.

Why do I feel like nobody? Queen of Cups Rx
How does being a nobody serve me? 10 of Wands
How does it hinder me? Knight of Wands
What would happen if I became somebody? 3 of Cups Rx

I love when Tarot does this, calls me on my bullshit. I feel like nobody because I don’t love myself or trust my insights and intuition. I’m afraid to connect to my deep, emotional nature because it leaves me feeling vulnerable and at risk.

Being nobody serves me by giving me something to grumble about; a burden to carry. It allows me to feel unfairly treated while allowing me to appear sacrificing and long-suffering.

It hinders me because as long as I cling to this delusion it will prevent me from finding my creative spark, my life calling. I’m meant to be active and charging forward. If I can’t channel it in creative, healthy, productive ways then it will find less beneficial ways to express itself.

If I became somebody then I will truly find people with whom to celebrate this joy, in a quiet, non-public way of course. I might alienate some but the odds are the are folks with whom I wouldn’t be simpatico anyway. Being somebody would allow me the freedom to celebrate my weirdness and quirkiness with fellow oddballs – like the Addams Family!

Curious that I drew two reversed Cups and two upright Wands for this reading. Considering how long it has taken me to appreciate Cups energy, I can’t say I’m thrilled to see them but clearly that attitude is part of the issue. Obviously my heart & spirit, my soul and spark are intertwined and if I can’t find the way to embrace both equally I’ll always feel like nobody.

#ComparativeTarot – The Devil (Bohemian Gothic, RWS, Transformational & Whimsical)

The Devil – quite a scary concept isn’t it. How often over the years have humans blamed their aggressive, inappropriate, unhealthy behaviors on some external construct? “The Devil made me do it” is often claimed in a joking manner but perhaps there is some truth to our belief that the evil, wicked things we do are because of the influence of some otherworldly entity but is this true? Does human belief in such an evil figure give it power and strengthen its hold on our psyches? Did we create “The Devil” so we could fob off the blame on something or someone else; a scapegoat? Are we so unwilling to face the darkness in our own souls that we would prefer to allow “The Devil” to claim it instead? These are probably much deeper questions than I can answer right now. Who knows, over the course of my Tarot After Dark blog posts I’ll probably express my opinion on some of these issues but that’s all it will be – my opinion. I have no expertise or additional insight and knowledge that grants me the power to find the answers for anyone but myself. I’m curious to learn where it will lead me.

So, I’ve been missing my Comparative Tarot essays and decided that I’d commit to writing one each week to share with any and all interested readers. Each week I will randomly select a card and then pull matching ones from three other decks. My goal is to include one RWS clone, one deck with a darker sensibility, one lighter more approachable deck and one collage or less traditional deck. This week I’ve decided to use the Bohemian Gothic, classic RWS, Transformational and Whimsical Tarot decks. Let’s explore what insights these diverse decks can offer into one of everyone’s favorite “bad” card.

The first thing that struck me looking at these cards is that one figure appears to be dominating or controlling the other(s). The black-winged figure in the Bohemian Gothic Devil is administering something in a syringe to the other. The recipient is resting against the “devil” and even hugging her close. The “victim” fully embraces her victimization or is she even a victim? The reality is that we can easily blame drug dealers for a loved one’s addiction but what caused them to take that first step? Very few are forcibly addicted to drugs or alcohol. In my experience, they seek them out in an effort to escape the reality of their lives. So is the drug use a cause or an effect? Self-medicating is quite a common extra-curricular activity in the US.

The RWS and Whimsical Devils both show figures that are physically chained or manipulated. They appear to be at the beck and call of whoever is at the other end of their chains.  However, a closer look reveals that those restraints can be easily removed. How fascinating because it implies that, once again, the “victim” is complicity in their enslavement. They could easily take control and free themselves from the restraints but chose not to do so. It makes me wonder about the allure of giving up control to another; to be void of responsibility for one’s actions. We see the reverse quite often when followers seek out rigid and strict religious movements. There is no need to consider what behaviors are acceptable or unacceptable – the church leaders will clearly define that for you. The bound people on the Devil cards show us the flip side of that scenario.  They can indulge in whatever depravity or “debased” behavior they desire because their master told them to do it. Quite a bit of psychological research has been done in this area and the results reveal that in most cases people are willing to do cruel, inhumane things as long as an authority figure told them to do it. Clearly being truly independent and free thinking is a rarity.

The Transformation Devil is quite a bit different in imagery but similar in message.  It shows a woman in a black dress standing behind a web, framed in red-orange flames.  Outside the frame are black & white figures, some being restrained by horned demons. Is the woman a prisoner of the web or the ruler of it?  Is she trapped or the entrapper? Perhaps she’s both.  Let’s face it, nothing in life is as black and white as we would like.  Perhaps she was trapped by her own addictions and indulgences and now seeks to trap others because misery loves company.  Or is she the only truly free figure in the card?  She may be framed by the web and flames but does not appear to be part of them or imprisoned by them. Could she be like a Crossroads Demon in the TV show Supernatural – not necessarily seeking out victims but coming when called and promising to fulfill one’s desires at the cost of one’s soul?  Sometimes I get the sense we do not value our souls as much as we should and as a result are willing to lightly trade it away for the promise of materials possessions.

Although the images on these four cards are very different their messages are similar. They remind us that in most instances our enslavement is the result of our continued choices. We have the ability to break free and move forward but that requires a strength of will and willingness to take responsibility for one’s life that many do not truly want. We may prefer the blame self-destructive, addictive and violent behaviors on some external devil but the truth is that human’s need so external influence to engage in atrocious behavior. What The Devil in the Tarot reminds us is that we do not have to remain enslaved. We have the ability to free ourselves if we also possess the desire and will to do so. It may not be easy. Let’s face it, regardless of how or why we became enslaved or addicted once we become so it can be almost impossible to free ourselves without some assistance. Even if you can’t cut those strings or pull away from that addictive devil by yourself, you can seek help once you realize that you want to free yourself. The Devil is frightening and seductive but it’s also a wake-up call. If you want to take those chains from around your neck you need to do whatever it takes to be truly free. That message is clear throughout these four very different takes on this intimidating card.

Passions – what makes life worth living

Passion, excitement, enthusiasm, joy.  The other day I realized how absent these emotions have been in my life lately.  While chatting with a friend about hobbies it hit me that I haven’t lost myself in any of my hobbies for quite some time.  I collect and play with Barbies and similar fashion dolls but I haven’t redressed a doll in over a year.  I collect and use Tarot decks but I haven’t really played with my decks the way I once did.  I have more books in my TBR pile than I can possibly finish in this lifetime.  I have a list of recipes I want to try but instead, default to the same 10  What the hell is wrong with me?  I’m not sure but I do have a few ideas.
During the conversation with my friend, I realized that I’ve suppressed my excitement and passion because it became painful.  Seeing others who shared my passions being able to explore and enjoy theirs while I was stuck in caregiver mode sucked.  It made me envious and bitter so I must have decided on some level that if I didn’t want to become a bitter, bitchy (okay, more bitchy) person then I needed to distance myself from online groups and boards or else my envy would chew me up and spit me out.
Unfortunately, that also meant that I dampened my affect across the board.  I stayed in a middle position to avoid letting the negative stuff overwhelm me but it meant I didn’t really enjoy the positive stuff either.  I think in clinical terms it might be considered depression.  Luckily I realized that it’s a situation depression and not due to anything major.  That means I could treat it on my own – because gods forbid I should see help for anything.  I’m kinda stubborn that way.  I like to blame it on my Capricorn Moon.
So what is my solution?  Nothing especially groundbreaking.  I made myself a promise that I would consciously choose to engage in some of my hobbies.  For example – I re-committed myself to posting my daily Tarot card pulls at least 4 times each week.  I promised myself I would post something to my blog once a week.  I am determined to journal at least once a week (but preferably more).  There are small, simple and doable steps that I know I can achieve.  Once I’ve consistently done these for a few weeks I’ll add more or change them.  I also want to start reading books on journaling and finding your life purpose but I’m not making that part of this commitment.  I have also promised myself that I won’t spend money on hobbies/crafts for which I already have a wide range of materials that I have not used yet (such as my coloring books and composition notebooks). 
None of this is especially innovative or mind-blowing.  It might not be amazing, impactful or especially transformative for anyone else.  For me, this was quite an epiphany.  Sometimes it the small wake up calls in life that have the most long-lasting and beneficial results.

Misjudging Relationships

Have you ever observed relationships of people and initially perceived them one way but then had your eyes opened and realized you were totally off base?  I have.  It’s been quite an interesting experience too and one that has reinforced the concept of not judging books by their covers.

It usually happens when I come across what I would describe as a solar/lunar (or almost stereotypical male-dominated relationship).  You know the type I mean – the male/yang/alpha partner appears to be the dominant one while the female/yin/beta partner seems to cater, kowtow and reflect the alpha partner’s glory.  Now, I also have to admit that my life experiences have primed me to recognize these types of relationships because they’re the ones with which I’m most familiar.  They were the type most common in the blue collar neighborhood in which I grew up.  Unfortunately, they were also the ones I saw become abusive (although let me be clear, I’m not saying all of these types of relationships become abusive).  It is the kind of relationship I was determined to avoid,

Of course, one’s perceptions as a child and those as an adult are quite different.  Watching these types of relationships now I have come to realize that the power dynamic is not as imbalanced as I once believed.  I have learned that a more yin/beta partner can be just as controlling and domineering as a yang/alpha partner. They just use different techniques to ensure their goals are met. For example, I’ve watched the “passive” partner use subtle and sometimes not so subtle behaviors to influence their partners. The most frequent one I’ve noticed is almost a temper tantrum. The more passive partner will become upset because something is not to their liking (for example their food is not prepared correctly). Instead of addressing it with the wait staff, the beta partner will complain to the alpha partner. This will cause the more assertive partner to take up the banner and charge into the fray to ensure things are corrected to the beta partner’s liking. Or the passive/beta partner will push buttons that will result in the outcomes they desire but allow them to look blameless. Things turned out this way because of the alpha/assertive partner’s insistence. It can be fascinating to watch.

It’s an interesting dynamic and requires a subtly of which I’m not capable. I can admire it and acknowledge its effectiveness while accepting that it’s beyond my capabilities. The major realization I’ve taken away from these observations is that I’ve misread these relationships. Due to my own blinders and prejudices, I didn’t realize that just because the passive/beta partner is assertively challenging situations or fighting whenever their partner did something insulting, domineering or just not to their liking, that doesn’t mean they’re not handling it. They simply use a less confrontational (and possibly more effective) approach.