I have always loitered between my desire to keep an open mind and my natural tendency to be (more than a little) sceptical.
A combination of these two traits led me to call myself an atheist many years ago. That is still a label that I remain comfortable with. After keeping an open mind and questioning everything I was told both in Sunday School and science lessons I came to the conclusion that science, for me, was the most convincing explanation of how the world around me and I came to be. Of course, it is not quite as simple as that but religion, or the lack of it, is not what I wanted to talk about here.
It is that, whilst I am not religious, I have not abandoned spirituality altogether. I understand religion and spirituality to be two separate things. Spirituality as defined by Google is “the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things”. For me, its about figuring out how I fit into the world around me, understanding how everything is connected and valuing experiences and opportunities for growth – wherever they may appear.
I also believe that there is good to be taken from not being able to explain everything. Like the first time a child encounters a magician, we could all do with a little wonder and bewilderment in our lives. It keeps us on our toes.
Which brings me to my actual point –
I recently had my tarot cards read for the first time.
I didn’t go and see some mystical lady in a circus tent with a sequined veil. It was in my house, read by my housemate using her deck of animal spirit tarot cards.
SPOILER ALERT – I want to say right from the beginning that I got more out of this experience than I had assumed I would.
Angelica (the afore-mentioned housemate) explained the process for setting up the reading:
- Shuffle the deck and “pour your energy” into the cards.
- When it feels right, stop shuffling and cut the deck two or three ways, again however feels right to you
- Put the deck back together
- Taking each card from the top of the deck, lay out twelve cards face down, in a circle like a clock face, starting at 12.
- Finally place a final, 13th card in the centre.
I wasn’t entirely sure how to “pour my energy”, so I just focused on what I was doing until it felt natural to stop. When I was done, I had my clock face of cards in front of me. One for each month of the year and one final card to represent my year as whole.
For the reading itself, I had to flip each card in turn starting with the one in the 12 o’clock place for January. Each card had a different animal spirit on it with its own individual meaning and symbolism. After each card I turned, Angelica read out the meaning of each animal.
If I had been sceptical at the start, my interest was soon piqued. As the cards were revealed, there were some distinct links to events that were already on the horizon for my 2018.
- January’s card turned out to be the butterfly which represents a big change specifically relating to either a relationship or in career. I started a new job on 8th January.
- April’s card was revealed to be the Beaver which represents the making of a home. I have recently found out that I will be moving into my new flat at the end of March, meaning for me April will be the month of me and my new flatmate nestling in and making it our own.
My rational brain tells me that me drawing these cards in this order is nothing more than coincidence and that I want to see connections in them. But why not be open to the possibility that even if by random chance, these cards could give me insight into my life?
I like the idea of thinking about my year in themes. Each of these cards, to me, represents a choice that can either be positive or negative depending on interpretation and application. It struck me that what the cards were saying is, “you’re going to be faced with an opportunity each month. It will be up to you whether you make the most of the opportunity in how you respond to and manage yourself through each one.”
The process of having my cards read allowed me to consider in advance how I might react when facing such a scenario. The cards suggestions on how to bring yourself “back in to balance” offer way to ensure that the majority of the challenges are positive rather than negative experiences.
In the main, I have no real idea of what 2018 has in store for me. I’ll only really understand the relevance of each card when I’m in the position of hindsight each month. So for now I’ve just gotta keep on swimming, as my good friend Dory would say.
The last point that really struck me, was the reveal of the card that represented my entire 2018.
I had discussed with a number of different people well in advance of the reading some of my plans for 2018.
- I will soon be a home owner for the first time and I want to properly embed myself in the local community.
- Now that evening and weekend working is a thing of the past, I want to better prioritise spending quality time with my friends and family.
- I want to seek out opportunities to coach and mentor. This is both something that I want to do professionally and voluntarily and I’m going to explore more opportunities to do that. I have begun mentoring with the Princes Trust and, at the time of the reading, had booked on to attend a one day training course in personal coaching (which I’ve now attended).
Bearing that in mind, my card of the year was (drum roll please)….
The Wolf: Guardian of Family & Tribe, Activism, Ritual
The Wolf’s mission is to uphold the well being and longevity of the pack. Healthy wolf energy expresses itself through activism, mentorship, humanitarian efforts, or teaching (religious or political studies). The wolf gets into trouble when it assumes every member of the tribe must follow suit – this includes children walking in their parents footsteps. Although it will surely be uncomfortable at first, practicing tolerance helps balance out agitated wolf energy. Contemplate the following: embrace all, exclude none.
When in balance: reliable, democratic, fearless
When out of balance: judgmental, dominating
To bring into balance: practice letting go
So it turns out I had already started along the path of the wolf, even before the card was drawn. Which is a little spooky perhaps but actually on reflection I have found reassuring. It feels as though I am naturally moving in the right direction. If that direction has the potential for me to be reliable, democratic and fearless – I’ll take that – thanks very much.
My plan is to look back each month with the benefit of hindsight and analyse the relevance of each of the cards I drew. Not to prove or disprove the reliability of tarot readings but to reflect on my own time. To consider, when making decisions about situations I find myself in, my ability to create positive experiences for myself and those around me.
Hopefully as a result, whether pre-determined or through heightened awareness, 2018 will be a year of valuable experiences and opportunities for growth that I grab with both hands.
Have you ever had your tarot read? If not, would you? If yes, what was your experience like?