A note on tarot and how I use it to help me recharge, realign, and refocus.
A lot has changed quickly recently. Nearly all of my plans for the next six months completely fell apart over the course of just a few short weeks. My university made the switch to virtual teaching until (at least) the end of June. All of my international conferences for 2020 were cancelled. And my PhD defense and trip to Barcelona that were slated for July will be delayed until December. Life as we know it has taken a complete 180 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With all of these changes and big decisions happening so quickly in such a short time period, I needed some time to come to terms with their outcomes. I took a week off from my intense studies; I practiced some meditation, and I revisited my tarot.
I only really became acquainted with tarot recently. To give you some context, I let some of my closest friends talk me into signing up for a “Divination Tools” class at a local community college last fall. We are such close friends and all have an affinity for witches/magic, so we often refer to ourselves as a culven (a blending of the words cult and coven). Needless to say, a class called “Divination Tools” was right up our alley. In the end, four out of the six of us signed up an attended the course. We quickly found out that we had skipped the “Introduction to Divination” class and signed up for a more advanced divination course.
We still had a blast, though. I mean, in complete honesty, any class that starts with the co-instructors introducing themselves as “hedge witches” and “reiki masters” is sure to spike my interest, and it did just that.
My favorite part of the divination class was learning about tarot. Tarot cards are considered to be a symbolic map of consciousness that can encompass our journey through life. They are not meant to tell your fortune, but rather they are meant to provide insight into your innermost truths and higher self. In other words, the cards don’t tell you anything new, they simple provide you with a more explicit awareness of something deep within. Since I found this quite fascinating, I decided to buy my first set of tarot cards a few weeks after that class. I have an entire Amazon wishlist devoted to different tarot cards that I would like to own, but I decided to start with this set by Kim Krans as my first deck. They’re colorful and everything I wanted in my first set of tarot cards.
I started out by doing a daily drawing to get familiar with the cards. (This also allowed the cards to become more shuffled and have more of a used feeling.) Every morning, before I left for the day, I would sit down at my coffee table and focus my energy. I would shuffle the cards and cut the deck as I had learned in the divination class. Then I’d draw a card and read about that specific card in the guidebook. I found daily readings to do two primary things for me: (1) they gave me an idea of how to carry my energy that day, and (2) they are a quick way to become very familiar with all of the cards in your deck.
There are a number of other readings, or spreads, that you can do with tarot.
- a card a day: a one-card spread to familiarize yourself with the deck and learn how the cards apply to your life
- past, present, future: a three-card spread that helps you discover who you were/are/will be
- clarity: a four-card spread to gain a clearer understanding of a perplexing situation
- connection: a five-card spread that gives some understanding to a relationship between two people
- Celtic cross: a ten-card spread that is very thorough and answers all aspects of your question
- yearly spread: a thirteen-card spread that provides insight to the year overall with a card for each month and an overall theme
I’ve tried all of these different spreads, but I use the daily drawing most frequently and regularly. In January, I decided to give it a go at my first yearly spread to see what 2020 had in store for me.
For the yearly spread, you start with January at the top and you move clockwise around the circle. The card in the center is the Overall Theme for the year. Here’s a quick rundown of my 2020 yearly spread:
- January: Son of Wands (charming, adventurous)
- February: The Lovers (union, desire, joy)
- March: Six of Pentacles (prosperity, growth, generosity)
- April: Eight of Pentacles (craftsmanship, skill)
- May: Three of Pentacles (teamwork, determination, focus)
- June: The Devil (addiction, negativity)
- July: Son of Pentacles (loyal, quiet, dedicated)
- August: Six of Wands (victory, success, rising up)
- September: Wheel of Fortune (destiny, change of course)
- October: The Chariot (strong will, triumph)
- November: Mother of Pentacles (domestic, loving, patient)
- December: Justice (decisions, karma)
- Overall Theme: Five of Pentacles (sadness, worry, illness)
At first, I really thought this to be straightforward. My overall theme for the year was the Five of Pentacles which symbolizes sadness, worry, and illness. I thought this was referring to my worries of submitting my dissertation on time and ultimately defending it. The first few months seemed to also speak to the amount of work that I would be doing to finish my dissertation (a major life goal) before the summer began. The cards throughout the fall and winter of 2020 seemed to also point to some life changes that might be coming up that I did not necessarily know about. I figured these referred to possible benefits of finishing my dissertation and maybe taking up a new hobby with my newly-found free time.
After so many things changed so quickly over the past few weeks, I decided to take another look at my yearly spread. Everything was right there in the cards. The overall theme has become apparent. I’ve been worried and sad with all of these changes that have been happening. Everything has changed, and I doubt that anything will ever be the same again. As I said before, my dissertation submission has been shifted from April to September. That’s apparent in the cards, too. The Wheel of Fortune signifies destiny and change of course. With a later submission, I’ve also had to adjust my defense to December. In December we have the Justice card, which signifies decisions and karma. I will experience a major life change in December which will be a result of the last four years of work.
In addition to revisiting my tarot, I also spent some time meditating; I enjoy doing yoga. I spent some time reading for leisure; I’m currently re-reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I even did some baking; I made some monster cookies from scratch on a whim. These are some of my favorite things to do, but I don’t always allow myself the time for them. When I do allow myself the time for these activities, I do feel recharged, realigned, and refocused.
Taking a week to recharge, realign, and refocus has been one of the best things that I have done thus far during this quarantine. I spend so much of my day infant of the computer either working for my job or working on my dissertation. I do exercise regularly every evening, but I don’t do many leisure activities because I feel guilty. Guilty that I should be spending that time on finishing my work. It’s taken me 28 years to really understand that I do not always have to be moving or working on “my work” to be productive. Sometimes that best thing that you can do to make progress is to take some time off and take some time for yourself.
What are some of your favorite things to do to recharge, realign, and refocus? Share in the comments below!