though i'm very new to the fountain tarot, it's remarkable how different it feels in my hands. when i was trying to choose my first deck, i kept coming back to the wild unknown - it felt like i had an immediate emotional connection to it, like we could have a long and fulfilling relationship, like it had wisdom and knowledge and power that it was just waiting to reveal. it felt like water, deep and dark and full of magic. but the fountain tarot feels like air to me, crisp and light and honest, ready to cut to the heart of the matter. perhaps that's why it's taken me so long to begin working with this deck, in spite of the fact that i bought it months ago - i had to be ready to deal with this new feeling, a new element in my readings. true to form, my new deck is clear and concise, sharing its wisdom and waiting for me to catch up. today's cards are judgment and the five of cups.
my single card draw was judgment, a card of release, reconciliation, and forgiveness. it's looking directly at our past, understanding the pain and struggles and loss that may be there, fully acknowledging mistakes and heartache and difficulties. it's accepting our role in those trials, honestly owning what has happened (along with what hasn't) and our part in it, and then setting it free. i find it feels so much easier sometimes to hang on to that pain, to let it fester into bitterness and anger and frustration - but all that dwelling on the past actually takes so much energy, changing the focus from what's in front of me back to what's already happened. this shift isn't always an elegant or lovely process - rather, this type of self-assessment and openness is often ugly and messy and terrifying. but setting that pain free, letting go of the past, and allowing ourselves to move on is the only way to go forward and begin to heal. there's such intention in this card, a joyous leap up and out from that stifling cavern. she's finally free, able to rise up and step into a new, more open future.
i don't often acknowledge cards that jump out of the deck while shuffling, at least not beyond a quick glance, a nod, and incorporating it back into the deck. but the five of cups leapt out of the deck when i was cutting it, about to draw, which has never happened to me. and seeing these two cards together, i can understand what the cards wanted me to see. the five of cups speaks to grief, despair, an emotional storm. while not every cup is overturned or broken, there has been a significant loss, and it must be mourned. there is a time for sadness, and trying to ignore the sorrow can be a recipe for disaster. it can be so tempting to get lost in that suffering, to let the pain become the only thing that feels real - the man in this image is mourning those spilled cups, but there are two full ones right behind him, waiting for him to turn around and grasp them when he's ready to move forward. we cannot get so lost in our grief that we forget that all is not lost, that we overlook that which we still have. but taking a beat to feel that sorrow is necessary - this card gives permission to feel that sadness, to move inward, to feel what we feel even when it's dark and difficult. sometimes, we just have to sit with the despair.
together, these cards have a powerful message. the shadows are real - there has been loss, and struggle, and pain. a period of mourning is natural, normal, and acknowledging pain is an important part of moving past it. but without intention, without purpose, this grief cannot be overcome. even though i'm good at putting on a brave face, can play the role that's required of me at times, my depression will not simply disappear just by ignoring it. and the pain of my past and present cannot be shed if i don't acknowledge it. i have to face those demons, thoughtfully consider where i've been, and find a way to feel and release this pain without drowning in it. freedom is on the horizon, but i have to reach for it.