It’s In the Cards

This is going to be a tough weekend for me, a convergence of people and events and influences from the past that I would just as soon not cope with. I wanted to run away but couldn’t find anywhere to run (except for a long solitary hike in the desert), and anyway, the situation has to be dealt with.

cardsNormally, I don’t put much faith in prognostications, but since I’ve been nervous about how I will handle the situation, I asked my sister to do a Tarot reading for me. (Strange, until recently, I didn’t even know she knew how to do a reading.)

Apparently, the cards say that I’m going to be fine. They say I have the strength and courage to do this, it’s something that needs to happen, and I have the skills and abilities to handle it. I hadn’t expected to feel anything but a vague amusement at the ways of the cards, but instead I felt relieved by the assurance that I’ll be able to handle what is coming. (I knew it anyway. I just got nervous.)

One odd thing — apparently, this weekend I will see myself as working with others, yet others will see me as being on a solitary quest. Something to think about.

If you’re interested, this is the layout of the cards, which seems to accurately describe the situation, my hopes and fears for the outcome. If you find a different, more disturbing meaning, I don’t want to know!

Celtic cross spread:

Card 1: The card in this position represents you. (VII Chariot): In control, confident, connected to the power of the world. Able to triumph over obstacles, achieve victory by focusing intent and will. Self-assured, assuming reins of power.

Card 2: The card in this position is about what the conflict is. (XV The Devil): This card is about losing independence, becoming enslaved, having limited options, feeling desolate, but choosing to stay in the dark. Needing to break free.

Card 3: This card represents the foundation or basis of the situation. (Ace of Wands): Having grounded energy and enough self-assurance to rise to the occasion; accept this as an opportunity, a challenge. The spark has been lit!

Card 4: Influences of the past affecting the situation. (Seven of Wands): Being trapped, in conflict, defending others against harm, evil. Having the strength and fortitude to take a stand, defend what you believe in. Having the faith and courage to face difficulties.

Card 5: What is likely to happen in the immediate future. (King of Swords): Contemplation, solitude, patience, wise understanding, compassion. Understanding that all aspects and needs of people must be balanced.

Card 6: The outcome you most desire. (Queen of Wands): Calm assured confident. Can handle anyone and anything- this is not arrogance, but understanding your skills and abilities. Dedicated, engaging, wanting peace, harmony.

Card 7: Your self-image, how you see yourself in this situation. (3 pentacles): Working with others, compromise, cooperation.

Card 8: Influence of those around you/ how others see you in this situation. (8 Cups): On a solitary quest. Relinquishing the material world to seek answers from the depths, the underworld. Maybe upsetting the balance in order to achieve something greater- a more lasting connection or peace.

Card 9: What you hope or fear the most. (4 cups): Getting lost in yourself, not belonging, loneliness, boredom. Being too self-absorbed, introspective, seeking too deep into own concerns, lost in reverie.

Card 10: Outcome. What is most likely to come of it all if nothing much changes between now and then. (3cups): Coming together, creating something together, celebration, friendship, relying on others. Some sense of community, working things out together.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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.