When the Tower comes to call

By far, the most anxiety-inducing card in the tarot deck is the Tower. A lightning bolt slams into a tower, shattering it and sending poor hapless folks plummeting to what looks like certain death.  It’s generally read as a harbinger of cataclysmic change and destruction brought on by forces entirely out of your control.

I’ll admit that I’ve dreaded the day when this card comes up for me in a reading. Destruction and cataclysmic change are definitely not on my list of things that I enjoy. I’m dreadfully adverse to even the most benign sorts of change. And yet, I laughed when I turned up the Tower as my card of the day yesterday, because no day in recent memory more perfectly embodied being powerless to forces beyond your control. The situation with the COVID-19 virus is escalating quickly: my kids’ schools are closed for two weeks after next week’s March Break, events are being cancelled, and new cases are getting closer and closer to home. It’s an unprecedented world situation and none of us have any power beyond our own small spheres of influence.

Image of Tower tarot card

We have a lot to learn about fear from the Tower, though. Sometimes fear itself can be more powerful and more debilitating than whatever it is that we are afraid of.  Note that the Tower is that it isn’t the end of the cycle; it comes about two-thirds of the way through the Fool’s Journey, and what follows in the wake of the destruction wrought by the Tower is enlightenment. Once we’ve hit that hard bottom, no matter how terrifying the fall might have seemed, we have survived to fight another day. With luck, maybe we’ve even been empowered by lessons learned along the way.

So one hopes that we, collectively, can learn something from the chaos that the Tower marks today. The lightning has struck and the tower is falling. What can you do?

Incognito Mode

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Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

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Quote of the day: Good Omens

My favourite book of all time is Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens. I’m sure I’m on my fourth or fifth reading by now, and I’ve watched the series on TV and even made my own pilgrimage to St James Park in London, where Crowley and Aziraphale fed the ducks.

Sir Terry doesn’t make a secret of his disdain for fortune tellers, though ironically, he has created all my favourite literary witches. I’m currently reading the Witches arc in the Discworld books and realizing that I am equal parts Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, and as I start my fifth decade on the planet, I’m more in tune with my inner witch than ever before.

I came across this quote this morning and laughed out loud. Sir Terry may not put much stock in fortune telling, but when it comes to tarot, this is still pretty good advice. I’m not much of a prognosticator, but I do believe in the power of context. You’re not done when you read the surface of each card; it’s the narrative, the story and the context that matters. You need to link the cards back to real life.

Anyway, probably not what he had in mind, but I still found it shareworthy and may yet use it as a tag line for the blog! 😉

Why pull a tarot card every day?

When I started researching the best ways to learn tarot, I saw two recommendations that resonated with me. The first was to keep a tarot journal, and the second was to draw a card every day and think about that card on and off throughout the day to see how / if the card’s energy manifests in your day. I was originally tracking them on a Google docs spreadsheet, but then it occurred to me to start sharing them on Instagram instead. I liked the synergy of that, because many years ago I taught myself photography through a photo-every-day project I called “Project 365.” I have often said it’s hard NOT build technical skills when you take 10 minutes or more to practice every single day.

Sharing the photos to Instagram has a couple of extra benefits. First, it gives me somewhere to talk about tarot, because I always want to talk about tarot. Second, it pushes me to be a little bit thoughtful about the card I’ve pulled and the context it brings to my day. And third, I just like the challenge of finding a little theme to make the photo more than just a tarot card lying on the counter. And finally, I’m starting to find a bit of community of people who also like to talk about tarot. (See point one above.)

Drawing a card each day has been an amazing way to be mindful and present in my day, though. How often do we look back at an ordinary day and say, “What did today mean? What was the dominant theme of my day? What energies were at play?” Sometimes if I don’t get around to pulling the card until later in the day, I’ll ask “What did I overlook today?” instead. Most days, I can see clear linkages between the cards and the overarching mood of the day. In the days when I am bursting with enthusiasm and creative sparks of ideas, I’ve pulled a lot of wands. Wands are about the fiery, passionate energy of intuition and inspiration. When work is heavy on my mind, swords come up. Swords deal with intellect, mental clarity and communication. And to be honest, some days I just scratch my head and shrug when I try to link the card to whatever happened that day, but even then, occasionally with hindsight the link becomes more clear.

I do find that pulling a single card every day doesn’t give me the same shiver of insight and connection that more complex or intentional spreads have done. I think one card on its own is sort of like an appetizer; it’s almost like the insight is a little diluted and non-specific, and you need a few cards interacting with each other to make a satisfying meal of it. It truly is a great way to not only learn the basic interpretations of the cards, but to see what they might mean playing out in real life.

Do you pull a daily card? How to you use it in your life?

Tarot reading: Past, present, and future considerations

This is a simple spread I did last weekend for myself. I’d been looking into what it would take to become a coach and mentor, so I asked the cards, “What from my past, present and future do I need to take into account when contemplating this path?”

“What from my past, present and future do I need to take into account when contemplating this path?”
(Everyday Tarot Mini deck)

Past: Six of Pentacles, the giving and receiving card. That makes so much sense. I’ve learned a lot in 50 spins around the sun and I truly believe it’s time for me to share that knowledge. I’ve learned from some great teachers.

Present: Page of Wands (the same card I pulled the day I launched my tarot Instagram account!) Embrace new opportunities and chase that creative spark. Amazing!!

And I laughed out loud when I turned the future card: the Nine of Swords. The nightmare card! It’s true, taking on this sort of role would give me a LOT of anxiety. That much interaction with people would truly be a challenge for me and I know it would cause me a lot of stress. Now I guess the question for me is to decide if I can manage that stress and make it all worthwhile. I do love it when the cards make me laugh out loud, though. What advice would you give based on these cards?