Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

I’m beginning to wonder if the tarot is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not supposed to be a prognosticator, but rather a way of gaining insights. I don’t expect anything from my foray into card reading — it’s more a way of honoring my deceased brother since the cards were his. And what the heck — I always like learning something new, especially something that might have deeper meanings. And it’s like decoding messages, which fits with being a mystery writer.

The cards for the previous four days were all high pentacle cards (Queen, Nine, King, Ace in that order), which together indicate prosperity, financial gain, goals achieved, enjoying each day, and new beginnings. All great cards to get, and rather interesting that they would all show up in such a clump. Also interesting in that I started a new job this week, and although it is part-time, it will help tremendously with my finances. And for sure it’s a new beginning.

Today’s card was the King of Wands. This card suggests that an opportunity is presenting itself, and that I have the perseverance and maturity to see it through to the end. Mostly, this is a card of pure energy. It’s that last part that made me wonder about self-fulfilling prophesies. After I did my tarot lesson for the day, I went grocery shopping, did laundry, took a walk, cooked rice, made salads for the next few days, cleaned a bit, talked to a friend on the phone, and now I’m writing this blog.

Whew! Lot of activity! Way more than I usually have the energy for in such a short span of time. So did the card suggest to me that I would have energy and my subconscious said, “Okay, sounds good to me, let’s energize the woman.” Or did I wake up with the energy and the card simply reflected that? Or was my bout of energy and the card coincidental?

Personally, I think it’s coincidence. The storm systems that have been moving through the area and zapping my energy, have passed temporarily, allowing me to get much accomplished. And almost any card can be made to fit any circumstance. I think it’s like horoscopes. The horoscopes that have no connection to anything that happens, we immediately forget, and the ones that strike a chord are those we remember.

But who knows. Certainly not me since I am a neophyte when it comes to the cards. I do enjoy tinkering with them, though. It helps give shape to my day by giving me something to do when I wake before I’ve settled in for the duration. It’s a bit mysterious. And, as I said, it’s a connection to my brother.

It’s all good. Especially the part about having energy. I did like that!


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Reaching a Bridge in My Life

An online friend occasionally does free one-card tarot readings on Facebook. In April, I asked her, “Does the card promise me joy?” She drew the Sun Reversed card, and she explained, “Had this card been upright I would have said a definite yes, but the card is telling me there have been some disappointments from the past that still are with you. It says there can be happiness and joy, but for now it’s you that seems to be clouding it for yourself.” (You can read the rest of the response here: Being Open to the Possibility of Joy.)

The reading took place shortly after the two-year anniversary of the death of my life mate/soul mate, when I was still feeling very sorrowful, still subject to upsurges of grief. I was tired of feeling bad all the time, hence my question, but paradoxically, I had not yet reached a stage where I could welcome happiness. Grief continued to hold me in its embrace, but even more than that, I still felt the unfairness of it all — his life being cut short, my having to continue without him.

And then a few weeks ago, everything changed. It happened suddenly, almost from one minute to the next. Part of it came from an odd random thought that flitted through my mind, “He beat the system, he’s out of it now,” though why I thought he beat the system, I don’t know, when he suffered for years. But he’s finished with pain now, and I’m finished with my worry that he had been denied additional years.

I’ve also been spending time consciously being me. We’re always us, but we’re not always aware of it. I’m trying to feel how I fit with the world around me, so I go out in the desert and stand there, not thinking. A couple of times I’ve had the awesome feeling that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Don’t know where all this is going to lead in the end, but it felt good at the time, and it’s helped me with the search for meaning that was such a weight after he died. If I am being me, I don’t have to search for meaning. Being is my meaning. Of course, one of these days, when my father is gone, I will have to search for a place to live and something to do, but for now, this is all I expect of me.

Last night, in an emailed conversation with my tarot-reading friend, I asked, “Does the tarot have any words of wisdom for me?”

Her response:

“I chose the Alchemical Renewed deck and as I was shuffling, the Lady of Vessels jumped out and her message to you is to be aware of your own feelings, appreciate your own talents and allow those inner thoughts, feelings and wisdom to rise and come to the forefront of your mind. What she is telling you is that this is a time for inner reflection and the ability to recognise and allow your intuition to guide you because that inner knowledge always knows what you should do and what is the best course of action for you to take. She also tells you it’s time to be self confident and let all that is good about you shine out.

“The Lady of Vessels breaks down to a 2, that’s the number of duality, compromise, balance and choice. What she tells you here is that it’s time to restore that balance, to settle down that duality that exists, and to bring together any opposing forces that exist so that they may work together for a more stable future. This is a time where you have reached a bridge in your life, and it is what you learn at this point that will carry you over that bridge and onto a new path.”

Isn’t that beautiful? The future spooks me if I think about it since I will be growing old alone, but the person who is growing old alone won’t be the me of today, it will be the me I become, the me on the other side of the bridge.

The Lady of Vessels seems to agree that I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am already doing. Even though I would have continued following the same path, feeling and being me, it’s nice to know it’s in the cards.

Being Open to the Possibility of Joy

Helen Howell does one-card Joie de Vivre tarot readings on Facebook, and just out of curiosity I asked her, “Does the card promise me joy?” I have never been a joyful person, have never really thought happiness was that important —other things have always mattered more: contentment, truth, friendship. Still, it seemed the logical question to ask of a Joy of Living card. And this was Helen’s response:

To answer your question of does the card promise you joy?

The Joie de Vivre has given me the Sun reversed.

Had this card been up the upright I would have said a definite yes, but the card is telling me there has been some disappointments from the past that still are with you. It says there can be happiness and joy, but for now it’s you that seems to be clouding it for yourself.

I wonder if the disappointment angle comes from maybe not totally getting the acknowledgement or success you hoped for in some part of your life? I think too this card is telling me that there has been a loss of something or someone that has taken the light out of your life a little. Did that loss provide the joy for you?

In this card the figure wears a suit of yellow, that’s the colour of mental activity. It seems to indicate that you have been thinking about things, giving a great deal of mental energy to this, but also note he wears a cloak of soft purple and that shows me that you have an awareness of this.

I like how the seahorse has green leaves around the sun flowers on its tail and also how a plant is growing in the foreground. Green symbolizes for us balance, adaptability, growth and potential. It seems to suggest that there is the potential here to adapt to circumstances better and bring things back into balance that will bring you the joy you hope for.

This is a number 19 card and it breaks down to 1+9 = 10 – this is the number of endings and beginnings all in one. It shows us that something has to be released before a new start can be made.

It appears to me that the Joie de Vivre is telling me that you need to stop blocking the joy from your own life. Be aware of how you think about certain things and this in turn will allow you the potential to adapt better to certain circumstances, which will result in a happier you.

I hope this has helped in some small way. I ask that you give me feedback and if you liked the reading.

I attach a link to the card, but remember this shows the card in an upright position and I drew it in reversed.

Thanks for allowing me to read for you.

Helen @

And here is my response:

Very interesting, Helen. I lost my life mate two years ago, and I am still struggling with grief. It’s not that the joy has gone out of my life, because I have never been a joyful person, but that the meaning has gone out of my life. I’m trying to find meaning in my life, in his death, in my writing, in the future. And yes, I think about it. And yes I am aware of how much mental energy I am giving to such thoughts.

Actually, I need balance more than joy. His death threw me and the world off balance, and my grief caught me by surprise since I knew he was dying. But I never understood what his goneness from my life would mean, never understood that it would bring me such an awareness of death, that it would shatter me.

This has been a time of great growth for me, and yet this is only the first part of my journey back to life. I’m taking care of my 95-year-old father, and when he is gone, I will have to find a place to live, a reason to live, something to care about. I’ll have to completely start over. I’m trying to see the good in that, but since I haven’t a clue what to do or where to go, mostly I’m just waiting.

I don’t know how to let go of my grief. Supposedly it takes three to five years, so perhaps it’s too soon.


What particularly interested me was Helen’s comment that I seem to be clouding my own happiness since other people have suggested the same thing, but to be honest, I don’t know how to dispel the clouds. Perhaps time and a willingness to face whatever life brings will take care of the matter. Or, as Helen points out, maybe I just need to be aware of how I think about certain things.

Throughout this grief journey of mine, the only future I’ve been able to envision is one of continued sadness and loneliness, and I’ve tried to prepare myself for such a life. But just because all I can see are sadness and loneliness, it doesn’t mean that’s all there will be. There could be joy. Maybe that’s all the Joie de Vivre card is telling me — be open to the possibility of joy.