In the Cards

five of cupsTruth is, I cheated. The first card I pulled was Temperance. And I pulled this card with the intention of… nothing more than to write about it here.  I wasn’t asking for advice or “what I need to know” or show me 2015 Tarot!  None of that.

I decided to skip over the Temperance card because earlier this year I went through the entire Major Arcana, card by card, so decided to keep going until a non-Major showed her face.

No one wants to see the Five of Cups. This is my assumption. I don’t think it’s a bad one. It’s a sad card. The figure in the black cloak, hiding his face. Three Cups have fallen. Two Cups still stand. We are told to focus on the remaining cups, what still stands. And we are told to grieve, to feel our feelings. How are we get to numbers Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, and more, unless we experience the Five? No skipping steps. Lamentation.

The Roman numeral Five on the card itself looks like a bird to me, a Pamela Coleman type bird. The sky is grey. The water is blue. There are trees and a yellow building in the distance. White bridge. Spilled cup contents. He sees none of it. But I wonder what he hears and smells. How soft is the cloak? I am staring at this card and wondering if any other people shield their faces this overtly in the Tarot. I can’t remember. I decide to look.

Because, well, think about it. Think about grief so severe (and I’ve been there) that you hide.

The answer is no. Not like this.

We’ve got folks with their back to us (Three of Wands) or in profile (Knight of Cups) or refusing to make eye contact (Four of Cups) or blindfolded (Eight of Swords), but no one else is in hiding.

nine of swordsWhy do we hide?

At first I want to say: because of shame. And then I think no, not always. Sometimes we hide not out of shame but out of shelter. The instinct to self-soothe.

Even the Nine of Swords posture feels different to me. Am I splitting hairs here? Maybe. Hiding one’s face versus burying it one’s hands? Shelter from emotional storm.

(I am really am Ms. Gloomy Tarot card today, aren’t I?)

I fall into these cards as I gaze at them. I feel their pain. I’m still scrolling through the deck. Five of Swords. A defeated man covers his face. The man in the Ten of Wands is working too hard to look up.

Six of Pentacles. Now this is interesting. The card of the rich man and the beggars. You’d think they’d look away. Being in need feels awful, but perhaps they are so desperate and so hungry that they are past pride.

I think there is a lesson here, generally speaking, from the Tarot five to the Tarot six, from grief to acceptance. Some good news is that the Six of Cups is a friendly card. We’re not alone anymore.

Wishing you good cards xx

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