The one year anniversary of my husband’s death is next week. On one hand, I can’t believe it’s been a year. On the other, hand it feels like he’s been gone far longer than that. My husband and I were together for 38 years when he died and it was very challenging learning how to deal with things on my own. I didn’t realize how many things he took care of for the both of us. I’m sure it would have been the same situation if I had died and he lived because we tended to divide up our responsibilities that way. There’s something both terrifying and reassuring about the fact that I’m able to handle a lot of this without John even if I wish I didn’t have to.
April 1, 1986 is the day John and I went down to City Hall in New York and applied for our marriage license. 36 years ago – seems like such a long time ago and yet I remember it like it was yesterday. In honor of this anniversary I pulled two cards from my Tarot deck while asking John for a message. This was his response
Seeing these cards I burst into tears because they are truly both such John energies, especially as they pertained to the way he cared for in about me. The Chariot suits John for many reasons: it’s his birth card; he was a car guy who loved tinkering with his vehicles; and he refused to let anyone else tell him what to do. He steered the course of his life, for better and worse. With this card John is reminding me that I need to be sure to take up the reins and guide my life going forward. I can certainly seeks advice and guidance from others, but I’m the charioteer now.
The 9 of Pentacles is John’s way of reminding me he always wanted to be sure I would be in a good financial place if anything happened to him. He has definitely done this. In fact, he could have retired but he continued to work. He wanted to be sure there would be enough in his pension to take care of me if something happened to him. Ironically that is what happened. He is visually showing me that he wants me to enjoy what I have and the time I have left. He wants me to be happy and healthy and take care of myself. I think the best way to honor John’s memory is to do that
So, since my husband died I find myself trying to speak with him every night before I fall asleep. I ask him to give me some kind of sign that he’s still with me in some way and I’ve never gotten one. It frustrated me because I believe in the afterlife and in the soul traveling to the Otherworld after death; and I felt like I was being cheated. I was rather angry about it. It was bad enough that he died on me but now I had no connection, no sense that he was still there at all. Until the other night.
I dreamed I was in my house, not a house I have ever actually owned but I knew it was my house. I also knew that my husband was there. I’m not sure how I knew this because I couldn’t see or hear him, but I was sure he was there. I was getting ready for something but I don’t know what. Then I heard footsteps walking through the house and knew that it was John coming my way. He finally stood in the doorway where I could see him. I took one look at him and turned away towards the wall screaming in horror. I was so terrified that I woke myself up and began sobbing. The figure I saw standing in the doorway bore almost no resemblance to my husband and in fact reminded me more of a Frankenstein type monster. I was shaken by this dream for days afterwards.
So, I processed this dream the way I process anything that bothers me – I did a tarot reading. Using Sasha Graham’s Haunted House Tarot, I pulled 3 cards:
What is the dream telling me? Knight of Wands Rx
Why did my husband appear that way? The Wheel of Fortune Rx
What terrified me? Justice
After looking at these cards, this is my interpretation of this reading. The first sentence that popped in my head upon seeing the reversed Knight of Wands is from the original Planet of the Apes movie. Dr. Zaius warns Taylor to be careful what he looks for because he might not like what he finds. I think that’s what this card is showing me. I’m trying to reach out beyond the veil for some type of reassurance from my husband but now might not be the time for that. What I discover might be more disturbing than I’m ready to handle. I have no idea how time flows in the afterlife or how a human soul processes transitioning to that level. Perhaps the living aren’t supposed to know these things or at least I’m not supposed to at this time.
The reversed Wheel of Fortune tells me that John appeared the way he did because he’s not finished transitioning yet. He hasn’t fully adapted to his new reality and so he looks like an unfinished science experiment. At the same time I can’t help but feel touched and reassured that despite this he still reached out to reassure me because he always tried to do that.
Justice was a little trickier for me to interpret. It wasn’t until I looked at the actual image on the card that a connection was made. The dream terrified me because if I had been able to fully connect to my deceased husband I think it would have thrown me off balance; so off balance that there would have been psychological and physical health repercussions. The female figure in the forefront of the Justice card looks like an old fashioned nurse. This makes me think that as things are right now my health would be endangered and that’s what terrified me. My soul was protecting itself.
When I first woke up from the stream I was so upset and disturbed. It really shook me. However, upon further reflection it has calmed me and helped me move forward in my grieving process. I realize now it’s not that my husband doesn’t want to connect with me; it’s just not advisable right now. Just knowing that he was willing to make the attempt, even if it wasn’t ultimately in either of our best interests, is reassuring and reminds me how much he loved me. I know now that I will reconnect with him someday; if not in this life then in the next. That makes me feel lighter.
The root of the matter, what you need to do to keep both your feet on the ground? 5 of Swords
Career, attitudes about work – are you following your heart’s desire or just surviving? Page of Swords Rx
Finances, attitudes about money – Money is energy; is your energy blocked or does it flow freely? Queen of Swords Rx
Connections and sharing – how do you let your guard down to share with others? The Star
Health & healing; how do you nurture & care for yourself? The Sun
First harvest you have planted, the garden and the seeds of your life – What are you reaping for yourself based on your attitudes and behaviors? What are you harvesting? 8 of Pentacles
Fruition achievements maturation fulfillment satisfaction success – what are you thankful for? Life Renewed (Judgement)
The figure on the Five of Swords is fierce and determined. She looks like she’s going into battle convinced of the rightness of her cause and that others will follow her. In the context of this reading, I think she reflects that fighting for our truth, fighting for what we believe in, fighting for our ideals can help keep us grounded. The world is a very scary place right now and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by what’s going on. I think the Five of Swords shows that defending what we believe in gives us purpose. The unfortunate flip side to this is that those who disagree with us will be equally vehement in defending their beliefs and ideals. Sometimes, that’s the way it goes.
The reverse Page of Swords suggested right now might be a time to reassess what you’re doing on a professional level. Something isn’t sitting right for you at the moment. Perhaps you just don’t believe in the value of your job the way you once did. You’ve lost your sense of purpose. In the context of this spread it suggests that you’re letting the logical path (staying in a job you may no longer be passionate about because it’s a secure income) outweigh your desire to feel committed to your work; to feel that it has meaning and value.
The reverse Queen of Swords shows that right now your energy is blocked, especially as it pertains to finances. If we connect this to the Page of Swords reversed, perhaps this Queen is reflecting that you’re blocked because, although you’re getting paid, your current job not nurturing your inner self; it’s not allowing you to live up to your ideals and your beliefs. If that is one of your core values, then this might be an area that you address so all that blocked energy can be freed.
The Star reflects the hopefulness and trust we might need to bring to connecting with others. Let’s face it any relationship requires a certain amount of faith because we open ourselves up to others as reflected by the childlike figure on this card. That also leaves us vulnerable to being hurt and betrayed. What The Star shows us is that even if this is the case, hope will remain as a light in the darkness to guide us through it. As many public service announcements remind LGBTQ+ youth, it will get better. In this reading, I think The Star reminds us that if we close ourselves off to meeting new people, to exploring relationships with those that seem unfamiliar or have different viewpoints, we risk becoming isolated and rigid.
This was an interesting card in this position. The Sun is usually symbolic of celebrating ourselves and embracing our successes but in this case it’s reversed. I think that’s telling us that we can’t celebrate ourselves and embrace our achievements until we can value ourselves. Perhaps this ties in with the reversed Page and Queen in terms of one’s attitude towards their career and money. If someone sticks to a job they detest in order to maintain a secure income it might impact their self-esteem and sense of self; cause untold levels of stress that negatively impact one’s health. It’s hard to celebrate yourself and acknowledge achievements if these things have no value to you because they’re in a field that you no longer find fulfilling. So maybe the key to unblocking this energy is free the stuck energy reflected in positions 2 and 3.
The 8 of Pentacles is a reminder that we get out of this life what we put into it. If we continue forcing ourselves to pursue a path that no longer brings a satisfaction it’s going to impact our relationships, our health our sense of self. I love the energy reflected in this card because it seems a perfect melding of Earth and fire; of the physical and the energetic; of money and career. In order to get to this place perhaps we need to look at the other blocked areas and get them unstuck.
Life Renewed reminds us that there is a way out of the darkness. We can emerge from all this blocked energy filled with dissatisfaction and self doubt by changing our mindset. We need to reassess and reevaluate what we’re doing and see if it’s providing the benefit we desired. We don’t always have to work at a job that is our hearts desire as long as it fulfills a need and only you can decide what that need truly is. The important thing is to recognize whether you’re feeling trapped by the situation and if so what can you do to change it because only you can lead yourself out of the shadows and into the light.
The three Swords cards at the core of this reading suggest that healing this situation is going to depend upon changing our perspective and mindset. We need to communicate more effectively with ourselves and listen to our inner voice. We might also find it useful to communicate more effectively with others in our lives so they understand our thoughts about a situation and whether we are truly satisfied and fulfilled. And if not, what they can do, if anything, to help us change it. It’s useful to remember that others in our lives cannot read our minds. If we don’t tell them what we’re thinking, we can’t become upset when they don’t fulfill our needs.
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.
So, I am an introvert. This must be understood or nothing that follows will make sense. 🤔😉. I know I’m an introvert because unreliable, potentially invalid online testing told me so. 🤯 Actually, it’s not a surprise. My entire childhood was spent with my nose in a book and my body in the NY Public Library. I may be the only kid I know who had a fake library card. Several library books had been lost in a fire in our apartment and, rather than explain the circumstances to a librarian, I got a library card using my grandmother’s last name.
Now if you’ve met me you might think I’m extroverted because I can be quite opinionated and rarely have a problem expressing it. However, I am only comfortable doing so in a familiar environment. For example, at school (once I became comfortable), with friends and at events like Readers Studio. The shared element here is that I already have a built in support network of friends and co-conspirators who know and love, or at least tolerate, me. I tend not to do well among strangers or in unfamiliar environments. So, after completing several online versions of the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory and being assessed as INFP by all of these different “tests”, I suppose that makes it official – I’m definitely introverted.
I am also a very private person. I tend not to like my personal business being shared hither and yon. Social media interactions often send me running while screaming “Ah, people!!!!” – like Gossamer, the hairy orange monster from Bugs Bunny. However, I obviously maintain a blog in which I share some very personal information with complete strangers. What the f*ck is wrong with me?!! Well, as it turns out, lots of things but not because of blogging. 😜 So, to further explores this matter I did what I often do – a Tarot reading.
I used the Lo Scarabeo Secret Tarot deck and asked:
What are the benefits of blogging for me?
What are the challenges?
What should I focus on with my blog?
I drew The Hanged Man Rx, The Sun Rx, and the 6 of Wands Rx. I know, look at all those reversals!
So my immediate response to these reversals is that this is truly all about me; about my internal processes and how I work through my own swampland of the soul. I don’t blog for others, I do it as a form of journaling; a way to explore the labyrinth within me. It helps me see things from a different perspective and in an objective manner. It also works for me because it doesn’t put me in the spotlight. I’ve never been comfortable being the center of attention or standing out in a crowd, unless it’s a familiar crowd. I do love if someone has gotten something useful from my meandering and tangents and let’s me know but I certainly would be uncomfortable being called out for it in public. Private”atta broads” work just fine for me.
I think I need to focus on the fact that this blog is a record of my struggles, victories and losses. I’m not trying to portray myself as a superhero, far from it. Sometimes I’m a little cuckoo and need to rant. Other times I’m thoughtful and pondering. Other times I’m outrage and frustrated. What ties all this together is that regardless if mindset, I find my Tarot deck a useful tool to help me process it all. And, if any of my processes help anyone else going through similar experiences then I’ll count that as a triumph!
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.
How do you measure your self-worth? Is that something that needs to change?
Hmm, so do I measure my self-worth based upon my journey; seeking out new experiences and sensations? Am I like the voyage of the original Starship Enterprise – “seeking out new life and new civilizations; boldly going where no man has gone before”? I dunno, maybe. I remember a former mentor telling me that when she was younger her focus was on acquiring possessions, but as she got older her focus changed to acquiring experiences. I think I’m still transitioning but I feel the shift in focus occuring.
I’m definitely on a journey and I enjoy the journey. I feel I’ve learned a lot about myself but so much more remains unexplored. Clearly, I still have work to do on releasing my emotional attachment to things that need to be let go. I’m often reluctant to get rid of toys or books or other items that represent hobbies I have moved beyond. I worry that I will regain interest in the hobby and once I get rid of these items I will not be able to reacquire or replace them. Perhaps in order to continue moving forward I need to seriously look at releasing some of these things so they’re no longer weighing me down; holding me back.
You tend to make yourself unhappy because instead of enjoying the good things in your life right now you bemoan what you don’t have. Rather than appreciating where you are, you bitch about how far you have to go.
You lose yourself in dissatisfaction and ennui because you don’t learn from the past. When things are not perfect you mourn rather than determining how they can be improved.
Revisiting past achievements and life experiences can help us realize how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned. Getting lost in them only makes us unhappy and disgruntled.
All the nails are falling out of what you’ve built. You hoped your accomplishments would gain you the recognition you desire but instead you feel young, inexperienced and like a failure. Learn from this experience and don’t let it hold you back.
This entire process has been internal for you; you finally feel able to move on and can accept that your achievements may never generate public acclaim or recognition. Instead you move towards accepting that idea that internal validation may be the only kind you are likely to get.
You’re trying to resist the inevitable, avoid what comes next, but doing so only prolongs the pain and prevents moving forward. Right now you may feel like you have been exposed as incompetent instead of praised for your skill. That sucks but the only way to get to the other side is to keep moving. It’s time to quickly rip off the bandage, doing it slowly drags things out and doesn’t actually reduce the pain.
You don’t believe in “happily ever after” and as a result find yourself alone and lonely. You can either change your perceptions so you’ll be more open to potential relationships or make your antisocial grumpiness work for you by gaining insights and knowledge easily missed if one is distracted by a relationship.
You’re resisting moving on to the next phase of your life because you don’t want to do it alone. Unfortunately, many of our greatest personal epiphanies occur when we are in solitude.
You fear that your lack of financial resources and impoverished lifestyle limit your social interactions. Is it that others judge you poorly for your socioeconomic status, or that you’re projecting your insecurities onto the world?