Sometimes it’s difficult to lift our head and see the larger picture. The forest from the trees. Our planet suspended in deep, velvety space.
Sometimes that's too much to ask. When world events swirl around us, upending our assumptions about the future, it’s all we can do to teeter from side to side trying to regain balance.
Now is one of those times when the world’s unruliness comes into rapid, sometimes terrifying focus.
It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that tonight the moon is closer to us than it has been in many of our lifetimes. Though it has always been orbiting our planet, it usually looks like a benign pearl gleaming in the distance. Now the moon is peering into our world, its huge eye pressed against our window. Beautiful, big, and a reminder of our smallness and the inescapable unknowns around us always.
Tarot can offer wisdom and guidance we would not choose for ourselves. Were I to actively pick cards for a reading right now, my choices would be much different than what appeared this week. Probably a nice handful of the spikiest swords, a stern Emperor, and the upending chaos of The Tower.
The cards from this week, however, show us the forces beyond and a way to move forward. This is much needed perspective and advice.
We being with The World and Death, two major arcana cards that affirm the great changes occurring around us. We have moved from a sense of dynamic oneness to an abrupt ending. The World is one of two cards that depicts movement, in this case, dancing. Traveling from this card to Death is like someone walking into the party and smashing the record that was playing. Sudden, shocking, and with no going back.
No matter what your perspective, this change was a surprise. To go from the wholeness to The World to the finality of Death is quite the leap. Some may have been embracing the change, dancing towards it, while others were shimmying with obliviousness, not thinking the change was even a possibility.
Yet here we are. The cycle continues. Death is constantly occurring in our lives, literally and figuratively. It is a necessary part of the world, but that does not mean we can simply traipse through it and get to the rebirthing.
To sugarcoat the reality of Death with immediate optimism and action is to squander a great opportunity. When someone dies, we have a funeral. We grieve and remember what it is we have lost. Only once we face the reality of death, feel its contours, and mourn can we know where we need to go next.
To see Death in the center of the reading is to see the momentousness of this moment. This is not small stuff. We see a group of figures either collapsed or standing before death's white horse: a king, a child, a maiden, a Pope. They all must succumb and they all have their time. Death does not discriminate. It is beyond our control.
What is not beyond our control, however, is the path after death. How we move on, rebuild, and continue is up to us. In the distance, a bright sun rises between two white towers. It is far in the distance, but promising if we choose to walk towards it.
So how do we do this? Where do we go? How can we move forward? These questions have been swirling in my mind lately and I have yet to come up with a good answer.
Here, we end with a beautiful card and an answer of sorts, the Queen of Cups. She sits on a throne, gazing at an ornate cup. Her robes flow into the water, melding with the pattern of the waves lapping against the shore. She appears calm, solid, and connected to the world around her.
Cups govern the realm of emotions and relationships and this Queen embodies their embrace and mastery. She does not get swept away by outbursts, or anger and confusion. Her throne is firmly planted on the ground, and while the sea in front of her may be calm and placid one day, rough and choppy the next, she remains focused on her single cup.
I see this as a moving reminder to remain grounded and look for the deeper humanity and connection in us all. I do not believe that this is a simple task. The Queen of Cups asks us to truly consider what it is that unites us. She has an ocean swirling around her. So much water. What does she choose to lift and hold in her cup, to cherish and appreciate, to protect and nurture? How can we do this for others? How can we make them feel safe, held, and truly seen?
The Queen of Cups sees the turmoil and change, these large forces illustrated in The World and Death, and asks us to focus on the relationships we have with others on all levels. It is our task to start inching forward while holding tenderness and respect at the center of all our actions. This is what will take us towards the rising sun and a brighter future.