exploring the fool

the fool has been popping up a lot for me lately. i’ve written about it some on instagram, but it’s also come up in private morning readings, when pulling cards with friends, and anytime i’ve wondered about how to move forward in my writing work. in spite of my structured pieces, my regular column, my ongoing patreon newsletters and moon phase pulls, i’m still craving more. and while i joked on twitter about the fool just being a strong person saying “do the damn thing,” it’s not wrong - this card is begging us to take a chance, to surrender to that idea or journey or desire that’s been building in us for longer than we want to admit.

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i want to write - essays, personal pieces, finding ways to tell my tarot story and link it to my life in more complex ways. i don’t know where to start, how to pitch, when to submit, who to ask for help. it feels overwhelming, but the desire is still present, in spite of the many obstacles i can see or conjure up to delay my own progress. the fool doesn’t care about how possible something is, about success - she simply begs us to take that first step, to seek joy, to follow our hearts. she needs us to start the journey, to take the chance, to dream. she asks us to try.

so today, i’m asking: little fool, what do you want me to do? some people don’t pay much attention to stalker cards, but for me a reoccurring card signals a missed message, an ongoing need, a chance to revisit an important theme or idea. the fool is such an important card in tarot, representing that moment when we leave behind what we are sure about and step into that beautiful, wild unknown. and while i know she is craving exploration, i need to understand how to start, how to move, how to be brave. i need her wisdom, which comes not from experience or knowledge but instead from her ability to listen to her deepest needs and most profound desires. the fool has no time for bullshit, and understands how to prioritize herself. she dreams so big, and i want to do that too.

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what is the importance of this card in my life right now? nine of wands. my writing doesn’t feel stale or stagnant to me, but perhaps my willingness to take risks has slipped away, and now i feel protective and scared. the fool keeps asking me to take chances, to put myself out there, to share my work and my emotions and my history - and while i want to do that it also feels deeply frightening, and terribly vulnerable. what if i get hurt, get rejected, simply fail? the nine of wands is so much fire, knowing that we are close to the end, but also represents strength and tenacity, a willingness to keep fighting. the fool sees where i am, recognizes my insecurities and struggles - but she still wants me to try, in spite of all that fear and anxiety and uncertainty. not knowing the outcome and doing it anyway is the fool’s whole message, and being scared or lacking confidence doesn’t mean i shouldn’t still take the chance.

what is preventing me from hearing the message of this card? nine of swords. i tend to get in my head a lot, rationalize why i shouldn’t do things or make arguments for staying safe. the nine of swords is terror, insomnia, nightmares, and represents the ways that i mostly think about how things could go wrong in my writing, rather than what could work out in a positive way. by focusing only on the negative, by imagining the worst case scenario, i lose all the possibility, the potential, the beauty in mistakes and the ability to learn and grow. i’ve created a powerful trap, haven’t been able to see outside of my failings and lacks, and it’s keeping me from taking the chances that the fool sees.

how can i release any blockages? the magician. just fucking manifest. if i can simply see the potential ahead, can envision possibility, can start actually writing and follow where it leads me, everything will shift. worrying and dreaming endlessly about how things could go wrong, without even having pieces that i’m trying to place or writing what’s flowing through my head is a bit ridiculous. i need to start creating works that i’m proud of, harnessing the resources at my disposal and the people around me that are cheering me on, and see where it goes. the magician knows their power, understands their abilities, and doesn’t let fear get in the way of creation. by beginning the process, enjoying the mistakes, harnessing my magic, i might actually get somewhere.

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this spread was incredibly helpful for me, kicking my ass and acknowledging how much i’ve let fear limit my progress. sometimes the cards have to remind us of truths we’ve already uncovered, weaknesses we’ve already acknowledged, and i’m deeply appreciative that the true black tarot pulled zero punches and reminded me of how far i’ve come. the fool isn’t actually foolish, and she knows what she’s asking of me. sometimes we have to take chances to find the most substantial rewards, particularly when it comes to creative work - writing can be intensely personal, but i’ve seen it pay off for so many. i want to be brave enough to start the process, to push past my fears and rationalizations and start creating work i love.

time to get writing.

on isolation

some days i wake up and know that the hours ahead are going to be difficult. call it intuition, call it fear, call it whatever you like - but today is not going to be a good day, and i know it in my bones. i wish i knew how to navigate days like this, but i'm never sure what will help. i'll make a to-do list, try to distract myself with mundane but necessary tasks. i'll schedule a yoga class, take on a new project, go for a long walk with my dog. sometimes i share this feeling with those around me, but i usually just end up feeling guilty - it's easier to isolate myself, stay quiet, hide away. nothing ever quite helps, and i know that when the sun goes down and i'm alone with my thoughts, things will feel impossible. it's a scary feeling, an emptiness, a longing for relief that never comes.

IMG_0334hoping for some simple guidance and maybe even a bit of reassurance, i went to my cards - but my stalker card has once again reared its ugly head. the three of cups will not leave me alone, and i'm getting frustrated by the repetition. what are you trying to tell me?

this card showed up for the first time in early july, and has appeared four more times since, including in several spreads. i even did a stalker spread, and have resisted posting about it the last few times it's popped up for daily readings. including today, that's eight appearances in less than two months. i'm clearly missing an important element of this card, a significant message that i have to face. after so much reflection, after researching this card half to death, i'm still not sure what i don't see.

this card represents celebration, community, accomplishment, beauty, joy, friendships, giving and receiving, compassion, sensitivity, harmony, positive energy, creativity, good times. it's so positive, a card of contentment, understanding, feeling whole and accepted. and yet this card's constant appearance brings a sense of dread, seems to mock my loneliness and isolation. if my community values me so much, why do i feel locked out of it? if contentment is present, why do i feel so miserable? if compassion and sensitivity are all around me, why do i feel alone and misunderstood?

reaching out is so difficult for me, and i hate doing it. everything in me resists. but this card feels like a lecture, forcing me to continue asking for help from people i feel don't care about me very much. this card brings out shame in me, makes me feel embarrassed and contrary and just plain sad. i wish that a card with so much joy and love wrapped into its meaning didn't make me feel completely alone, but somehow, it does.

what do you do when a card feels so wrong?

on the three of cups

IMG_0334i've written before about stalker cards, and this past month i have a new one - the three of cups. it's not hard to pinpoint why, exactly - i've been struggling with changing relationships, feeling left out and misunderstood, battling my loneliness and trying to learn to reach out and ask for help more often. the three of cups is a card of friendship and community, a safe space of honesty, love, and openness. this is a beautiful, comforting card, one that represents those that truly allow us to be ourselves. and while for most it's a very welcome card, for me it's come to represent a particular relationship that's shifting, and other relationships that are lost. it feels like it's mocking my feelings of doubt, isolation, and rejection. seeing it again today, reversed, feels very pointed. rather than letting this card stand alone, it seems like time to do a stalker spread.

 

1. What is the importance of this card in my life right now?

IMG_0315the mother of wands, a card of fierce loyalty, vibrant energy, and incredible passion. strong-willed, determined, and independent, this is a card that has shown up when i'm pushing myself, and when i'm scared - she tends to reveal herself when i need an extra boost of confidence and clarity, when i'm hesitating, when i'm doubting myself. she's a reminder to fight for what's right, to stay true to ourselves, to practice gratitude and focus on what matters.

in this reading, the mother of wands feels like a reminder to keep reaching for what i want. i'm afraid of relationships falling apart, i don't want to push people away that i care about, and i don't want to be alone with my troubles - but at the same time, i hate feeling vulnerable, asking for help, sharing my feelings. it may take a lot more effort on my part, and i may need to push myself to keep being honest and working through my issues, but it'll be worth it to get what i want and need. i can't keep bottling everything up, hoping that the people in my life will somehow magically know what i need. my friendships and communities matter deeply to me, and right now i need to fight for them, and to make an effort to connect with friends both near and far.

2. What is preventing me from hearing the message of this card?

strength, a card of gentle courage, personal power, and true patience. this card is a reminder to tap into that well of inner strength and mastery, to learn to walk in tandem with our inner demons rather than always engaging in battle, to exercise patience and IMG_0360love when working with others. it's a beautiful, encouraging card, but a challenging one in this position.

while strength is generally considered a positive thing, something to aspire to and work towards, the cards seem to be saying that in this case, it's become a hindrance. i'm clinging to a specific idea, mistaking my refusal to change for patience, perhaps not taking enough responsibility for my own feelings and actions. i keep ploughing ahead with the same view of the three of cups, sure that it alludes to my sadness and isolation, that it keeps popping up to taunt me. but there are plenty of cards that represent loneliness, depression, loss, grief, discouragement, rejection. is it so hard to take this card at face value, to believe that i have a community that cares about me? can i be strong enough to see this card for what it truly is? do i truly believe that showing vulnerability and feelings is a weakness, or can i embrace it as a true strength of will?

it's time to stop seeing stubbornness as a synonym for fortitude. sometimes, strength comes in knowing when to shift, when to regroup, when to stop and breathe and reconsider. strength can be honesty, openness, admitting weakness and fear and brokenness. and rather than clinging to old ideas, calling it patience while i wait for things around me to change, perhaps it's time to adjust my own attitude.

3. How can I release any blockages?

the ten of wands, a card of burnout, exhaustion, scattered energy and emotion. the suit of fire and passion, enthusiasm and opportunity, has reached its natural conclusion: feeling overwhelmed and utterly depleted. there's a sense of burden and even shame here - too many things going on, feeling stretched in every direction, unsure of where to go next or how to succeed.

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this card is a reminder to focus on what truly matters, to strip away the distractions and all the extra, to remember where joy lives and to seek it out. and right now, that feels pretty damn impossible - i can see the fog of depression creeping over the horizon, my own sadness is at higher levels than usual, my therapist is out of town, i feel lonely and strange, everything is wrong but i'm doing my usual song-and-dance that everything is fine. i don't want to fight through this tangle of branches, choosing the one that matters most - i want to use them for a bonfire, burn it all down, start over. and perhaps this is a reflection of how i feel about the three of cups: so many tangled feelings, making something that seems so simple and lovely into something utterly complicated and dark.

the ten of wands itself is a card that demands release, that advises us to let go of all those extra burdens and instead find the joy that started the whole mess. and the joy of the three of cups is so simple: feeling understood, feeling valued, feeling heard. knowing that you mean something to the people in your life, both those you see all the time and others that take more effort to stay connected with. i am lucky enough to have both, a community of friends in my city along with old friends i've known for years, though they're much farther away. and while sometimes i'm stumbling in the dark, feeling utterly lost and alone, i have a family that i've chosen, that somehow has chosen me right back.

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i knew this spread would be a difficult one, and it is. i clearly have trouble accepting love and friendship, leaning on others, admitting when i need help. i'm much better at reaching out to friends that are in pain than i am at reaching out when i'm in pain. i struggle with believing that people truly care about me, especially when i'm battling my demons. but the three of cups keeps popping up not to mock me or insult me, but rather as a constant reminder that i matter to someone. it's a difficult lesson for me, but it's one i need to take to heart, particularly in this time of challenge and change.