At the beginning of every month, I do a tarot spread. I don’t view tarot as a future-reading device, but more of a way to sort out the thoughts I’ve been turning over. Sometimes I ask a more specific question, sometimes more general. For years now, I’ve used the Medieval Scapini tarot deck for my spreads, and generally use a Celtic Cross layout. Sometimes I have a general idea of what the cross tells me, and at others, it only partly makes sense. Often, I’ve found that I have to make extremely tenuous connections between the cards. Additionally, beyond a few cards that are ones I know well, I generally have to look at the manual for meanings, even though I’ve been reading tarot and using this particular deck for fifteen years.
This month, I decided to do something different. I mentioned recently that Jason got me the Raven’s Prophecy Tarot when it came out in September. I decided to do my October spread using this new tarot deck, as well as in a new-to-me layout outlined in the manual. Stiefvater said she began using this layout because she struggled with the Celtic Cross. Since I also struggle – and my first attempt to read these cards, using the Cross, failed miserably – I tried the new layout.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about the layout itself. I’ll leave that for you to read on your own, if you’re interested enough in tarot to do so. Instead, I want to talk about my experience with October’s spread. Spoiler: This was the most illuminating and emotional spread I’ve ever done with tarot, and after bawling my way to clarity, I will never go back to my old way of doing things.
Query: Now that I have basically pulled myself out of multiple situations that were leading me nowhere, I have no idea what to do next in terms of career and path. Should I focus on my writing? Should I pick a different career and launch into studies? Should I go back to school? Should I get an unimportant job just to earn some extra cash and wait to decide? In other words, I have no idea what the heck to do next, and I need some guidance and clarity.
Answer: I am in a place where I have just stepped back from everything (Six of Swords). I have no idea what will happen next (Wheel of Fortune), whether it will be bad or good, and frankly, I’m terrified, which is why I’m searching (aka scrambling) for what to do next. My conscious mind is focused on study and hard work, on getting things done (Page of Cups). Additionally, this card is personally associated with a specific fictional character of mine, Neal, and further indicates that my conscious mind is preoccupied with writing. This makes sense, given that NaNoWriMo is almost upon us, I haven’t written a word in months, and I feel very trapped by my inability to write right now. Directionless there, too. But my unconscious mind is begging for rest and respite, and time to deal with all the pain and inner turmoil I’ve had to neglect this past year (Four of Swords).
Answering this question on my own, I believe the only way out is through, and that I should just push on, no matter what it costs me (Nine of Wands). If I stop to focus on myself, on feeling safe and loved and comfortable in my home, on my relationships with my children and spouse; if I allow myself to be still and directionless and okay with those things (Queen of Coins), I feel like bad things will happen. However, I cannot move forward, not truly, until I look inside and address the dark and hidden parts of myself (The High Priestess). I must embrace my unconscious, which as I stated above, is begging for rest and respite and attention to my emotional state. What won’t help, however, is locking myself away (The Hermit), which is what I usually do when trying to focus on my inner self. I must continue to exist in the world while nurturing that inner self.
The next step forward in clear. I’ve been too focused on the problem, on the query above, and not focused enough on my inner self (or, most likely, the people around me). I must change my focus to the emotional side, rather than the rational, external side (Knight of Swords). And if I can do this, I can return to a place where my past no longer holds me in a painful death grip. Memories will lose their barb, and retreat once again into the realm of nostalgia, into something I love instead of dread (Six of Cups). The past can be laid to rest, a loosening of the chains I carry, and then, I can move forward.
So really, the answer here only tells me that I’m asking the wrong question. It isn’t about how I should move forward. No way forward right now will help; all choices are equally unhelpful. I can’t move forward, not until I address and resolve my inner turmoil. And who knows? Maybe once I do that, the answer to my original question will become abundantly clear.