Humans are messy.  We’re a complicated layering of insight and ignorance, faith and fear, power and surrender.  We contain a multitude of contradictions and paradox, and all in varying degrees of expression.

To help us untangle the mess and see the strands for what they are, we work with archetypes — pure, distilled versions of the components that make up the human experience.  Religions do this with different gods (the Greek and Roman systems, Hinduism, Druid/Pagan, the orisha of the Yoruba…), allowing us to see a single aspect of ourselves reflected in the image of a particular deity.  Details of the deity’s life and actions can help us see parallels in ourselves, reminding us of the power and possibilities we can access by following that particular thread of our being.

I’ve found this same gift with the Tarot.  The cards offer a filter through which I can look at my life, highlighting specific aspects that I can access within myself, and draw upon for inspiration and focus.  This morning, I got the 5 of cups, the Star, and the Empress. The 5 of cups speaks directly to an experience I’m having right now of disappointment and grieving something that I’ve had to let go of, a dream that started to take shape and then melted away again.  Seeing this card this morning was a kind of validation for those feelings, and helped me acknowledge and honor the experience for what it is.

The meaning deepened, however, when I looked at all three cards together.  (When I pull a card in the morning, I shuffle until a card or two, or three, literally jump out of the deck.)  The Star is a card of finding relief and healing after chaotic changes, from the light that shines in the darkness.  The Empress is the nurturing mother, source of all abundance and a limitless fountain of love.  Looking at the 3 cards, I saw a journey of being present to disappointment and grief, moving forward by acknowledging the light that is always there, and stepping into a confident open heart that serves the world joyfully and without reservations.

As I reflected on the cards, I noticed that all of the images involved flowing water.  In the first, the woman cries over the water spilling from the cups, lamenting its loss.  In the second, water pours from the woman’s hands in an infinite flow.  In the third, a waterfall churns behind her.  From a belief of limits and loss, I move forward into knowing I have all I need within me.  And then I allow myself to trust that it’s not only within me, but all around me, an endless source of which I am a part.

5 Cups (World Spirit deck)   Star (World Spirit deck)   Empress (World Spirit deck)

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