of shadow work
facing the darkness /
to live in the light
to live in the light
Peace family! I hope this finds you well :)
Today's card is the Seven of Swords (Moon in Aquarius), brought to you by the High Priestess (Moon) & Aquarius (Star). Folks haaaaate this card! If you've ever gotten a tarot reading (or watched one on YouTube), you know this is the liar / thief/ sneak / cheat/ doo-doo head card. It's kind of appalling that this card has such a dickhead reputation because its parents are simply lovely.
The High Priestess (Moon) represents our intuition based on lifetimes of experiences. Aquarius (Star) is the transparency & vulnerability of healing after trauma. When you combine these two energies in the Seven of Swords, you have someone who can't help but expect the worst (& gives zero fucks about saying so), because their experiences thus far have been so terribly... terrible.
Let's look at the card literally:
First, can we agree this man is a great performer? I say that because he wears such a peaceful, happy expression, but you just KNOW the way he handles things must hurt. He's holding onto nearly every sharp sword (sharp word) he's received, refusing to release the blades (release the blame). Behind him are painted tents (pain, intense); he's trying to sneak away but he's not stealthy (not healthy). See those dark figures in the bottom left of the picture? They are coming for this man. He smiles but he is hunted on his path (haunted by the past). Yet he attempts to escape from the shadows that lurk (escape from shadow work). Maybe he's drunk...? Maybe he means to walk upright but he's dealing with an unconscious swoon (unconscious wounds) ? There is so much gold behind his back (gone on behind his back). Despite the betrayal, he keeps his cutting swords (cutting words) to himself. If he says anything, it's gentle words (chin to sword). He doesn't like to make a scene (no seeing), which is paradoxical af bc he's putting on a whole show.
However he's not invincible ; he gets that this trick hurts (gets triggered). He looks innocent enough but when he lets them fall, his swords (words) cut deep. He never owns up to it though; he only says I was just playing. When this happens, it calls attention to the fact his painted tents (pain intense) have open rooms (open wounds). For every room (wound) aired out, there is still another one hidden behind. He can't heal (katana/heel). It seems that for every step he takes forward, he takes a step back. He can't get a good grip, can't handle it. I mean he could... but he'd have to hold steel (hold still) , open his eyes & face the plain (pain) & the light.
What's the point of running from your shadows anyway, if your eyes remain closed? Aren't you just keeping yourself in the very dark you're afraid of?
Here's my Seven of Swords story:
I went to the same high school as many of my friends from grammar school, including my best friend since the first grade. Although we had been super close up until that point, we began to grow apart. Our differences were magnified by the fact that we gravitated toward different friend groups. We had friends in common still, but we weren't in the same clique anymore. I was relatively popular up until junior year, when I cheated on my boyfriend with his best friend (refer to the five of cups story); after that I became kind of infamous & I became very aware of people talking about me behind my back, including my friend from the first grade. I felt like I deserved it though, so I let it ride. Meanwhile a mutual friend of ours confided in me that she was bisexual, & that the "boyfriend," she often referred to was actually a woman. Not long afterwards, my childhood friend had a sleepover birthday party & I went. I was kind of uncomfortable because the girls there were acquaintances of mine but friends of hers, & it didn't feel like a safe space. Once again, its just that feeling of being talked about. Finally one of the girls there came out & asked me why I'd hurt my ex-boyfriend the way I had. The question caught me off guard & instead of considering whether I owed them any answers (I did not) I found myself explaining my choices & defending my decisions to a room full of girls who were not my friends. When I could tell I hadn't convinced them that I was right to follow my heart (nor had I convinced myself...), I switched topics. I think I was trying to explain that we all do things we could be judged for & maybe they shouldn't be so freaking judgmental, but I just blurted out that the one girl who actually was my friend & had confided in me & was not at the party, was bisexual. I tossed her secret to the wolves to get those bitches off me. On Monday at school, my best friend from the first grade told our mutual friend that I had outed her. I tried to explain why I did it, & that I didn't mean anything malicious (just playing!) but our mutual friend has never been my friend since, & I've never been friends with my friend from first grade since, either. We're all cool or cordial or whatever, but that's it. I guess I'm trying to say that hurt people hurt people, & I was the hurt person who lashed out in the worst possible way. If I could have just processed my own disappointment in myself for how I handled the boyfriend situation, I wouldn't have projected my guilt by seeking anyone's approval & trading the gossip about me for gossip about someone else.
What are y'alls Seven of Swords?
This card was another one that threw me for a loop. It was hard to face. I couldn't figure out what I was looking at so it took me a while to understand. Finally I had to pray for discernment so that what was hidden would be revealed. Once I saw, I couldn't unsee.
First, the parents. This card is the Four of Pentacles, aka Sun in Capricorn. It is a combination of the Sun (joy, optimism, innocence, ignorance) & Capricorn (the Devil). The Devil card gets a bad rap (black wrap) but it isn't inherently evil. The Devil card is about places, faces & situations that are so intoxicating we never want them to end, therefore we become consumed with desire for that thing & only that thing. Fascination becomes obsession, preference becomes addiction, novice becomes mastery, a moment becomes a lifetime. When the energy of the Sun is combined with the energy of the Devil in the Four of Pentacles, it creates the experience of being ignorant to how easily & innocently one can become stuck. Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.
Let's look at the Four of Pentacles literally:
There's this grey sky (great guy). The first thing I notice about him is his grey eyes; he sees my soul (he sees I'm sold). It's kind of intimidating (it's him I'm dating). He's super focused, he always has money on his mind. I was so mesmerized that it took me a while to look at his shitty (city) background. (What I could see of it anyway... most of it was hidden) For one, he smoked like a chimney, which was just one of his needs (knees). Still he was so... disarming (these arms in). We tried to build a business together; he said he'll loan the money (heel on money), but then his boss called & told him 'you're fired' (roof fire). His solution was to sit alone (seedy loan) but he couldn't pay it back (coat painted black) even with a payment plan (pavement /plants). Even further back in his background was a mountain of debt (mountain in depth), & he never mentioned the foreclosure (four close here). Suddenly all our plans were blocked (plants blocked). We were scraping by (scrapers high) & he planned to steal (planted still). I thought we could live from the money he stole (money in his stole), but he held it back (held in black) from me. I stayed as long as I could but it hurt too long (hair too long). I knew I had to go but he had everything. He said 'where are you going??' (wear your coins) The fact that he held all the money pulled me back (black) in. I looked at the situation but it was hard to see (hard to seat). If I valued myself, I had to leave because I was not safe in his plans (not safe in his hands) & there was no savings plan. I had to see the truth (see the roofs). He had no love (no gloves) for me, we were just co-dependent (coat, deep in it). I could never get a straight answer out of him either; I'd try to have conversations about the relationship but he wouldn't address it (worn a dress, sit). I was trapped (tight wrap) & it had taken me too long to understand (too long to stand). I was unmotivated though, because the whole thing left me feeling dead inside (dead in his sights). If I wanted to live again (leave a gain), I'd have to take a cue from him & face forward, accept it (except sit) & walk away (walk way). This time, there's no turning back (turned it black / turned his back).
Ewww, I don't like this card, I don't like it one bit. & Just like dude's weird hands not quite touching the pentacle, I can't put my finger on it. It's that energy when you're being slowly deceived behind your back in front of your face, you know? Usually when people are being deceptive, things are very complicated & there are so many details in the stories being built (see the buildings??) I suppose that is the shadow energy of this card; paying so much attention to the surface details that we can't see the forest for the trees. In order to save ourselves from being stuck, we must use the light to see the things we don't want to see but NEED to see (need to seat). This will require deepening our view (depending on you) to figure it out.
It took me a minute to figure out what was that bordered line running underneath the man's two feet. He's in the city, so he's sitting on the crosswalk (across wall). If he's in the crosswalk, those are 'stop lines.' He has two stop lines to himself.
He has to stop lying to himself.
Here's my Four of Pentacles story:
I don't want to deal with this shittttttt!!! I am so tired of writing about this card, Imma keep it 100. I think that's the energy of the card, its this fucking exhausting, immovable, enigmatic, mysterious energy where you have to put the shit together yourself because somebody won't just MAKE IT PLAIN. Ugh.
I'm laughing at myself too because just now, writing about this card, I am understanding my son Othello & my friend Nicole better. They both have their suns in Capricorn & they are both very non-nonsense, cut-the-shit type people. Confrontational. So now I see why I hate this card because I freaking hate confrontation, it makes me uncomfortable af! That's probably why I'm stalling right now, because I can't think of a Four-of-Pentacles story because I never confront anything. (Seriously I hate this) Which means I'm the exhausting, mysterious person who won't just make it plain. Oh, ok. (I feel attacked)
This is such a stupid story but its a great example of my doublespeak (doubles feet) bullshit.
When my oldest daughter was about to turn one years old, her Dad & I were broke af. I was working, he was not. I had a pretty sweet job as a coordinator for an after school program but I got paid once at the beginning of every month & I was not very good at budgeting. My daughter's birthday is on the 30th, just before payday, so I had nothing left over to throw her a little party. The crazy thing is, I knew that was going to happen & I had planned for it. I'd put $200 away for her party around the middle of the month, but then during the third week of the month, my baby daddy's ex-wife started blowing up my baby daddy's phone, because her food stamps had run out & she didn't have any money or food in the house for their seven year old daughter. So obviously all three of us had piss poor money management skills but none of us acknowledged the fact. Also, she & I were both working, & the father of these children was not working, but nobody brought that up either. Instead, I wanted to please him (y'all know the next card after the four of pentacles is the five of pentacles...) so I took my $200 I'd saved for my baby's birthday & told him to go buy his other baby some groceries. I figured (read: lied to myself) we'd get the money back within the next week somehow & that the Most High would provide. But then that next weekend, my mama started calling, asking me if I was still going to have the baby's party at her house, because that had been the plan. Instead of admitting to my mama that I'd given the money away & couldn't afford the party, I said the most ridiculous bullshit. I told her we just wanted to celebrate alone with the baby & that she didn't even know it was her birthday. My mama was like, whatttt????? And I reiterated, we were just gonna have an intimate party of three. She hung up hella confused & annoyed af.
The next day, my younger sister called me. She lived with her mom, near my mom. Now, my mom & my stepmom both raised me & growing up I always felt a little guilty whenever I told my mom how much I loved my stepmom (especially her cooking) because my mama would catch the slightest attitude. Anyway, my sister was like, what's up with the baby's party? I repeated the same bullshit I'd told my mom except my sister (Capricorn rising) was not having it. She was like, what bitch? No. We are having a party. I'm throwing it if you won't. It will be at my mama's house. Bring that baby.
What was I supposed to do, turn it down??? (Confrontation issues) So I called my mama & told her that her grandchild's first birthday party wouldn't be at her house, but at my stepmom's house. She was like WTF. I came clean & said I really didn't have the money to have the party but my sister offered so I accepted. My mama was like nigga if you ain't have the money, why didn't you SAY SO? & I was like, because I know you didn't have the money either because if you did you would have offered. (Yes I said that to my mama & yes I am ashamed).
On top of that, I dressed my baby in the cutest outfit for her party, but when I got there my sister was like, 'ugh take that off, I bought her something new.' So in the middle of the party, I changed my daughter's clothes & put on the outfit her auntie bought & paid for. My mama was like, that's not the outfit she had on at first is it? She looked so cute! & I was like yeah, but her auntie bought this & I figured (read: I was too pussy to say no) it was cute.
I hate this damn story. I have lied to myself so many times & when you speak to others from a space of lying to yourself, it makes you look hella unstable because you end up explaining (& excusing) instead of just telling it like it is. It's not lost on me that I gave my baby's money away claiming 'the universe would provide' & the universe did indeed provide.
But at what cost...?
(What are y'alls Four of Pentacles?)
I hope everyone is doing well. I know I say this every day but I am so appreciative of each of your comments. We are growing an amazing community here & everybody's voice & presence matters. Y'all done made me cry, crack the hell up, nod & say me too, wanna slap folx I don't even know, & cry some more, & wanna come through the screen & give all the hugs. Whew. I am really proud of us for showing up because I know this work is hard & triggering af. I have felt called out every single day. It can be disorienting to face your own bullshit & blockages (every day?!) especially since they're in the shadows so you feel them but you don't really see them. & don't want to see them either. A couple of times I've felt like maybe we should slow down & because it's too hard to do this in 40 days, but I realized we have to soldier through & Imma tell you why: shadows aren't real. They can't stop us. The issues we talk about here are not who we really are (light), they are the things that get in the way & keep us from being who we really are (darkness). (The spaces where we need to be more clearly defined.) We are not our bullshit, we're simply calling it out. I know alot of us have these perfectionist ideals (me too!) that keeps us from showing up however we are & just getting the job done. I don't want any of you to feel like, just because you fell behind on reading / commenting, that it's too hard to pick it back up. Just check in where you are, when you can, & go from there. Forward movement only. The ONLY thing that matters is that we show up & don't give up. Looking good doing it is not required.
The World card (right) is the energy of the pressure, structure & lessons that force us to grow up & step into our mastery. The Temperance card (left) is the personification of experience & acceptance that leads to wisdom in all areas, whether mental, physical, emotional & spiritual. When you put these two together, you can see the Ten of Wands is about accepting the fact that the road from who we are to who we want to be is hard, period, & there's no way around it.
Let's look at the Ten of Wands literally: Can you see this card is about relief? The man is holding a bundle of reed-leaves (relief). Not only that (I had to Google this!) , but this type of painting is literally called "relief." According to Google: A relief is a wall-mounted sculpture in which the three-dimensional elements are raised from a flat base. If we look at the bottom of the picture, we can see that this man appears to be stepping into the frame (stepping into fame), therefore he is the sculpture that is being raised from a flat base. To emphasize the fact that the man is a sculpture, we can look at his legs / calf muscles; they are beautifully sculpted with strength & power. The definition in his sculpted legs came from walking a long way, a.k.a. the persistence of moving forward step by step, putting one foot in front of the other foot. But first, before he can step into the frame (fame), he must toe-the-line (see how his left toe touches the line?). According to Google: Toe the Line means to accept the authority, principles, or policies of a particular group, especially under pressure. In this case, since we know the man is a sculpture being placed into the frame, we can say that he is the Creation, & therefore must accept the authority & direction of his Creator. In other words, he has to toe-the-line & go do what he was made to do, no matter how uncomfortable that makes him.
& Ooh this man is super uncomfortable! He's hot, tired, stressed & over dressed for this dry season he's going through. He just needs a break, you know? Some freaking RELIEF. He is shouldering a heavy load, a bushel (load of bullshit), If you look at his right foot pushing into the corner of the picture, you can see he's pushing back into it (put your back into it). He may have slid backwards (back sliding) but now he leans in, getting up & moving on. He knows he has to gather an unknown strength; therefore his face is lowered (faces the Lord), which results in hiding his face (highest praise). This helps him shoulder through (soldier through) & surrender to the load (surrender to the Lord) & give it all he's got (give it all to God). Suddenly his grip tightens & he's borne-his-ten (born again). Without even noticing it (because his head is down), he's about to enter a scene of relief (season of relief).
Relief or not, hidden danger lurks. As this man steps into the frame (steps into fame), he's finna be hot stuff. His outfit is fire red, or red-heat. Dude is ready. He's had to be very disciplined too; he's had to tighten his belt. He would love some release (relief). Here's the danger though; the place where he's going is even hotter than him! He's about to enter a blaze of heat (be lazy). You see that house in the distance with the red roof? Once dude looks up from facing the Lord & giving the highest praise, the first thing he's going to see is that house! He's going to think it's a divine blessing placed in his path, to give him rest, relief, maybe some cold lemonade & a colder shower after stripping off those hot af clothes. He'll be so ready to get into that relief that he won't even notice he'll have to cross the line set there by his Creator. This relief will require crossing a serious boundary. (But no matter how many times he crosses that line, he can always be bordered again (born again).
What he won't understand at first is that, since this house is in the desert, nothing really grows here. He's the most lively thing around. He is the life (light) & they will be relieved to see him coming because it's dead af around here. They're going to want his light to be on all time (issa lot of rooms in that house) & pretty soon he'll burn out. He'll need relief from his relief, & he'll have to get up & re-leave, push his back into it, get back up, stop backsliding, toe the line, get his (bull) shit back together & face the Lord AGAIN. Therefore, hot & tired & ready as he is, it might be best if he just avoided that house altogether, & remained on his side of the divide line/ divine line. Sometimes it's best to keep struggling, than to experience a little bit of relief & fall there (fail there). He might think it stressful that his wands-are-full but when he considers the alternative, he'll see his struggle is actually wonderful & protects him from temptation.
We don't really see this man's face, we see "mostly hair." If you're learning tarot-speak, you should hear "almost there." But he's not there yet. (Keep it moving, turn the corner)
The light of this card rests in persistently remaining very close to God/ higher self/ ancestors through expressing gratitude for your struggle (& the opportunity to handle your bullshit!), because you understand that you are a Creation being sculpted by your Creator. You must accept that your struggle isn't torture, its the opportunity to get your (bull) shit (bushel) together. Your problems (& your obsession with their solutions) is actually loving attention that separates what you ARE from what you are NOT (bringing you into relief).
The shadow energy is being so stressed & thus ready to relax a bit that you put your burdens down at the wrong time & place, get lazy & lose precious time & energy having to get back in your groove when you shouldn't have gotten out in the first place. Which can seem hella contradictory because just yesterday the Eight of Pentacles lectured us about knowing when to take breaks, so I think the Most High wants to emphasize the difference between taking breaks & being lazy. (Because the devil is in the details) We can't have it both ways either. We can't toe the line & cross the line at the same time. It's a small step, but a HUGE choice. We can't keep our toe out but just put the head in (that never works lol).
I'll give y'all an example of my Ten of Wands:
Imma give y'all a recent story too, so you understand this is something I am currently dealing with. I am explaining these lessons but I'm not removed from them at all. We are in this together, frfr.
For those of you who don't know, I've been living with my children in hotels all year. (Issa long story) From the beginning of spring until the end of summer, we lived at a hotel that was perfect for us. It was in a great neighborhood, with parks & restaurants nearby & a strip of independently owned grocery stores that carried organic fresh fruit & vegetables. In other words, a (transient) mother's dream. At the time, my laptop needed to be repaired so one of the best parts for me was the computer & printer in the lobby. I was super tired of working from my phone because it makes updating my website such a hassle. The manager of the hotel knew I made money online so he was cool with me using the computer anytime, all the time, as long as I wanted. It was there that I came up with the schedule I explained to y'all yesterday, where I put the kids to bed & then work all night long. I was really getting into a groove; I was focused, my work was consistent, sales were going up & I was coming up with new ideas all the time. As many of you know, being a mom & working from home is SO HARD without blocks of quiet time. At night the lobby was so peaceful & I felt truly blessed with such an ideal situation. I wasn't the only person / family living in the hotel either, so I felt at home. (Read: Got comfortable)
[Disclaimer: Ok Imma tell y'all now, most if not all my stories are going to involve boys. I judge myself for this, because I've always felt boy crazy. I cannot deal with dudes & keep my life together at the same time. I can rub my belly & pat my head, & I can walk and chew gum but for some reason I cannot get good dick & succeed. Frfr, it's in my birth chart. I have my Venus in Cancer (2 of cups) in my 10th house of Career & Public Recognition. So the only way I can deal with dudes & work at the same time is to get money in regards to loving them. Since I ain't a hoe (allegedly), I have to talk about them & get paid.
I'm saying all that to say, please don't be put off that most if not all of my examples are going to involve relationships or sex. Please don't feel pressured to make your examples similar, because for you they might relate to family or friends or business or whatever. Its not my intention that this be a salacious space, but for me to give authentic shares, they will most likely be salacious.]
Ok, so there were a couple of guys I saw in passing at the hotel. Both of them worked late / overnight, so I saw them coming & going to work. I was trying to practice being more open because I'm going through a divorce rn but I've been with my husband since 2006 & I realized I didn't even know how to talk to men & just...be normal. Not necessarily flirting but not being all I'M MARRIED either. Just... talking to them like people. Both of the texting situations with the dudes fizzled pretty quickly but regardless I was just... open. I also noticed that the dudes were cool but I wasn't that attracted to either of them & the way I knew I wasn't was because I wasn't willing to kick it if it took me away from my work. I was very clear about only meeting up or texting outside my work schedule. & I was really proud of myself about that because that's not like me.
So I was proud of myself, feeling myself, working consistently, scheduled, ordered, disciplined, feeling pretty cute- & then one day this boy just walked off the elevator. (I told y'all I was boy crazy) Everything about him was different than what I was used to, but he was hella familiar at the same time. Idk how to explain it. He 's bi-racial, average height, skinny, long blonde locks, grey eyes &... open. I could just tell he was open. Looking back, he reminded me of me, just friendly & willing to see what's up. Typing that it sounds very sexual but it didn't feel sexual it felt... natural.
Ok so he got off the elevator & did a double take at me, spoke to me. I spoke back, he asked the dude behind the desk for fresh towels, & then went back on the elevator. Then the elevator doors opened again & he got back off, walked up to me & asked me could he call me. I started to say no because I could tell he was so much younger than me (he's 26, I'm 40) but I figured what the hell, I'm open, so I said yeah. He texted me from the elevator on the way back upstairs, & we've been texting ever since. He's sporadic af though; I haven't seen him since August & I don't know if I'll ever actually see him again... but at the same time I feel like he will text me 'Morning love,' or 'wyd' for the next 100 years unless I change my number. He's loyal & invisible LOL. It's distracting. (Oh shit DIS-TRACT-ED, as in gets you off track, like the track in the Ten of Wands, wow).
So he ended up staying at the hotel for a few days, & I went to his room two of those three nights instead of finishing my work those nights. It was just so... easy (read: blaze of heat / lazy) to be with him. It was definitely a panties pushed aside, girl-you-know-you-want-this situation. It was so easy to forget about keeping my shit together & take that half-a-step over the line. I felt like I deserved him. I thought the Most High was rewarding me lol (don't judge me, yes I prayed for dick). I literally told him, "I work hard & I need to have a little fun." I meant smoking & watching Netflix (which we did) but we did some other stuff too that I really, really, really, really enjoyed & couldn't stop thinking about even after he left the hotel. In fact it was all I thought about. After that, when I was working, my mind was on him. I wasn't in the zone anymore. I fell off. I started sleeping at night & lost my groove, & my business stopped flourishing. It's taken me a good four months to recover my mojo, which I'm just now getting back. That one night of relief caused a whole season of drought for me.
(It ain't worth it Ms. Celie )
What's y'alls Ten of Wands?
Peace family! Can I just say I love this space & y'all shares & the revelations of these cards & this work!!! I am so grateful for each & every one of you, your transparency & your energy. My heart is so freaking full.
Also, I want to apologize for posting today's card so late (for some of you it might already be tomorrow), but this card whooped my tail! I'm 'bout to tell you how & when you read my story you'll understand that truly these energies are current, present & alive within us RIGHT NOW, revealing themselves for these lessons. Whenever I teach / study a tarot card, the energy of that card literally shows up in my life so that I can understand in practice, not just in theory & since we're on this journey together, the same might be happening for you. Let us be patient with ourselves...
Let me also preface this explanation by saying I am tired! I work constantly, because it seems like every new thing I get an idea to do, brings ten more things to do. The work never, ever stops, it just grows. I don't like taking breaks either, I just tend to wear myself out & then my body shuts down & forces me to rest. Ever since Covid when my kids started going to school online & I didn't necessarily have to make my sleep / work schedule revolve around pickups & dropoffs, etc. I reworked my schedule so that I could work uninterrupted at night. So, I work from about midnight until 7am, doing readings, updating my website, fulfilling orders, etc, & then I sleep until 9, wake them up for online school, sleep again until like 11am, take care of my younger babies, do household stuff, & then after dinner around 8, I crash until 11 or so & then get up and do it all again. This last week (especially with being committed to blogging every day), my days have started blurring together & I was getting to that level of exhaustion where I was emotional, irrational & pretty much surviving on coffee, weed & lo-fi.
Which is the state of mind in which I sat down at 1am this morning to understand & write about the Eight of Pentacles. Mind you, the Eight of Pentacles is also known as the Sun in Virgo. It's the combination of energy from the Sun card (Sun) & the Hermit card (Virgo). My natal sun is in Virgo, so I already knew I was finna feel attacked. I stared at this dang card for an hour waiting for the language of the picture to reveal itself so I could break it down the way I normally do but the only thing that broke down was me. After awhile I was just sitting there crying, feeling exhausted, pressured, sleepy, jittery, stupid. I made a deal with myself that I would ease up the pressure & just take notes on whatever came to me, but that I wouldn't write the actual post until later.
As soon as I eased off my own own back, slowly, the meaning began to trickle in. This is finna be a loonnnnng post, because once the answers started coming, they did not stop.
But first, let's look at the Eight of Pentacle's parents, the Sun & the Hermit. Remember, the Sun is the renewal, optimism & joy ( + innocence / ignorance) that comes with being born again in the spirit & learning to use new spiritual gifts. This is an odd energy to combine with the Hermit, because the Hermit is about being old & wise & focused on criticizing & analyzing the past before moving into the future. When you put these two together, the Sun in Virgo is basically what happens when you try to teach an old dog new tricks. They may learn (eventually) but they ain't gonna like it, not one bit.
Ok, now let's look up at the Eight of Pentacles (all the way at the top) literally: The first thing that came to me was making money, because in the tarot, pentacles represent money, & dude is...making it. There is a pentacle lost under the bench, so it looks like although he's making money, he's losing money too. He's creating the pentacles on a block of wood, so I realized that meant create-on block or creative blocks. And then I stared at the card some more.
Even though the answers were right there in my face, I couldn't see them. Then I was drawn to the fact that his tool is right by his eye, actually too close to see clearly. I was like, oh wow, literally me. I tried to imagine what dude in the picture would tell me if he could talk, & I heard him saying he's making money with his stake. I made with my stake. I made with my stake over & over. So then I realized this picture is saying that he is making the same mistake over & over, but he's (look at his posture) too stooped under to stand, or too stupid to understand. (Again, me.) Because he's making the same mistakes over & over again with his money, perhaps he's had to make some hard choices. I saw how the one pentacle was low under the table so I heard, money low, loaned money under the table. The pentacle has fallen behind his heels & I heard, fell behind a heels (fell behind on bills).
I looked back at the tool in his hand, & it seemed like a hammer to me. I thought, that thing would hit him really hard in his face & I heard hard to face. I saw that his left knee was touching the pentacle, which is also "work he's done himself," & I realized the picture was saying knees to work done himself, or needs to work on himself. (Again, me.) His knee is also touching his wrist, & I heard knees to wrist or needs to rest. It's hard to rest on a workbench (work binge) tho. His shirt is rumpled & out of his pants. He should put on a new shirt because that one was worn out. He's worn out. (& then I looked down at the black hoodie & crusty black pants I've been wearing four days in a row & again was shook at the accuracy.) If we assume that perhaps his first couple of pentacles in production were sub-par because he tried to do them on a flat surface; he needed to create-a-block (creative block) to prop (propel) his work. Once he took-a-brick (take a break), probably everything went smoothly after that. Look at how the man needs a shower, a shave, a haircut; he's been working so hard he hasn't had time to take-hair-off-himself (take care of himself/ take care of his health). Mind you, I realized the whole hair thing as I was randomly taking down a braid & putting it back in because my roots are fuzzy & I never take the time to do my hair all at once. This card is LITERALLY ME.
I figured I needed a fresh perspective so I took a break, smoked a little weed (dont' judge me lol) & sat back down at the computer. Immediately, I was in a more forgiving space with myself. If we look at the pentacles as the man's possessions, & he is renewing them over and over, then even though he's making the same mistakes, he's also "renewing/reviewing what's mine," or renewing/reviewing his mind. His work tunic is tied in the back three times. He's tried three times. The first pentacle is in the shape of a star, & the star is missing under his stand. First, I started to misunderstand. Then, the 2nd star on the ground is leaning on the stand, not lost under it. Second star on the stand / Second, I start to understand.
Then I realized that if we're counting the total number of the pentacles moving down the pole, the ones that have fallen off the pole are "less ones," or LESSONS. Instead of dropping it like the others, the worker has caught the most recent less-one, or finally gotten the lesson. Once you finally get the lesson, you realize there are so many lessons to get! If the lessons are pentacles, they literally never stop coming down the damn pole. The pole is outside because it is too tall to keep inside. You can't keep it tall inside, or, you can't keep it all inside. These lessons must be shared. Anything that is shared is a gift, & since these are personal lessons, this man is forging these gifts himself. This gives him purpose, mainly to forge gift himself, or forgive himself. Even so, some of these lessons/ gifts were lost & they were valuable. These are costly lessons. For the ones he has finally caught, he can charge a price. The more he gives his gifts-as-a-prize (gifts at a price), word about his production (which is self-made btw) will grow. When folks ask, who made it?, he can proudly say I MADE IT!
If we look at how the man's head is positioned, he appears to be nodding, literally on his shirt seam. He nods-on-my-seam, or he is not a machine. His work must be done piece by piece, one piece at a time & he must make his peace with that. Since he's self employed, he defines his own time. These gifts from the Most High (pole) will be given in defined timing, or divine timing. I looked closer though & realized its not a pole, its a tree that you can't see the top of. If we look at the home to the left of the picture, we can assume the man is on his family property, therefore these pentacles are passed down his family tree. These mistakes turned lessons turned gifts turned prizes are his inheritance.
Yet the man is alone, not shown with his family. In the left corner of the picture, we see his home & his back (which is unsupported as he works). We can assume he left home & had to turn his back to support himself, even though he's dedicated to the generational work of turning mistakes in his bloodline into lessons & gifts, even at the expense of his health & self care. There is one nearly perfect pentacle at the root of the tree, & the man's toes point to it. His toes-to-the-perfect-one. He was supposed to be the perfect one; one of his slippered shoes is tucked under the bench; he tries to hide his slippers / slip-ups but we can all see them anyway. We can also see his left heel is tucked in, or his heel in, or he's healing. If the two pentacles on the ground represent the man's first two mistakes, then his right foot (heeled) is tucked between them. We can see he has his heel between mistakes or, that he has to heal between mistakes. He can't hide his failures or his progress. His work happens in stages / on stage, so it is public & also incremental. This may be uncomfortable but will ultimately only increase the proof that he's self-made. The personal value of his work is directly tied to his ability to recognize the importance of the mistake / lesson / healing & whether he defines time to forge gifts for himself / forgive himself in divine timing. It won't matter that he was unsupported at home, because he's learned to work alone. He is self made. He is an army of one, & he discovers himself-as-team, or self-esteem. Yet since his gifts are also home-made (home aid) , they will bless his lineage whether they appreciate him or naw.
As his work increases, his opinion of his work will determine its quality. Currently, he has a low-inspect station or low expectations of his work. Everything is coming faster; he's overwhelmed by the gross amount of work (mistakes-lessons-gifts-prize-mistakes-lessons-gifts-prize) he has to do & he also feels gross because he doesn't have time for anything else. There is a freight being downloaded (afraid of being let down/ afraid of letting others down /afraid of downloads from the Most High) & its overwhelming af. Dude can never get it all done because as soon as he grasps one less-one, it changes into another & another & another. These less-ones are various, multi-fastened (multifaceted) & always accompany some sort of loss. They each are in the shape of a star & he has to make himself a star over & over again (make himself start over & over again). They only flow in one direction too (down). He can't gift-it-up (can't give up). It's very specific work too & the money comes down from the Most High (tree) accordingly. He pays attention to the details, working in his fine tunic (fine tuning). However because of his low-inspect-station, his view of his work is too narrow, too limited. He needs to raise his inspect-station, or raise his expectations. Doing so will allow him to raise up his eyes (raise his price), because he'll see how valuable his work/worth has become based on the extent of its reach (tree).
Rather than focusing on every little mistake & lesson, he'll see that he can maybe relax a little bit because after he's done all he can, his work/worth can stand. In fact it has become the stand (rooted in imperfection, mind you) , the standard by which other work is measured. After consistent practice (crack this), he has broken the mold.
Whew that was alottttt! The shadow of this card is being hard, critical & unrelenting of yourself. It's also giving up & quitting because it feels too hard; not because you're lazy but because you're overwhelmed. The light is accepting that the work is hard & you're likely unsupported, so you have to be gentle with yourself (take breaks), acknowledge that you can only do one thing at a time, engage in self care, & gain some perspective about how much your contributions (borne from imperfections!) really matter, both within your family (even if they don't give af) & within the world.
This is where I would typically explain a personal Eight of Pentacles story but I feel like I wove it in there somehow. Imma take this card's advice & let my work stand alone, quit typing & take a break.
What are y'alls Eight of Pentacles?
When I studied this card I was highkey irritated & lowkey shocked at the fact that how we feel about ourselves is so closely tied to how we treat our money & relationships.Let's get into it.
Today we're studying the Minor Arcana card Six of Pentacles, sired by the Major Arcana cards, the Hierophant (Taurus) & the High Priestess (the Moon). Therefore the Six of Pentacles is also called the Moon in Taurus. Let's take a moment & respect the fact that this person has a true couple for parents, the High Priestess & the High Priest. Of course, the High Priestess & the High Priest are supposed to be dedicated to the Most High & not out here making babies, but that's a post for another day lol
Ok, the High Priestess (The Moon) represents the emotional cycles & experiences that create our intuition. We think our intuition is a spooky psychic ability, but really it's the result of our soul living with us for so many lifetimes, that it knows what we're going to do before we're going to do it. Not magic, but habit. The High Priestess is the best friend who knows all our secrets but wouldn't tell a soul. She knows the difference between who we truly are & the way we present ourselves. The Hierophant (remember from the Five of Pentacles) represents our personal integrity. Therefore the Six of Pentacles is the expression of the contradiction between our principles & our behavior. The space between our customs & our laws. Since the root of manifestation is broken down into, "As you believe, so shall it be done unto you," the Six of Pentacles is the card that asks you to pay attention to what is being done unto you, because it is evidence of what you truly believe. For instance, if you say you believe that you deserve to be happy... & you believe in the Law of Attraction... then why do you keep meeting folks that make you miserable? Where is the disconnect between what you think you believe & what you experience?
Let's look at the card: We have the Hierophant (our integrity) in the middle of the card. He is caught having to choose between two energies, both of whom are submitting to his authority. The energy on the left is looking up with his hands out. (Looking for a hand out) Let's assume the little coins about to slip through this person's fingers (money slips through his fingers) are ten cents each. This person cannot even afford to pay a ten (can't pay attention). Still, he can see the tip of the Hierophant's fingers (can see tip / conceited). It's possible that this person's desperation is an act, as they've put a poor looking cap on their hair (put on hair / put on airs). This allows them to beg four more coins (beg for more). Four tens! (A for-tune). Anything is a fortune when you need it now; remember, this dude can't even pay a ten (no pay ten/ no patience). Still, as knee deep (needy) as this person is, they manage to keep their distance (except for their hand out). It seems constantly giving a ten, ten (attention) to this person is the only thing that keeps them close.
Because of the consistent attention given to the energy on the left, the Hierophant (our integrity) doesn't turn to the right. Instead he holds up a weight (hold up, wait). From this perspective, the person on the right is missing his right side (missing right). Mister (Missing) Right is very supportive; he holds the Hierophant's knee (knee him to hold on), & remains close despite the lack of constant attention. This person puts no hat on his hairs (not putting on airs). What you see is what you get. His hair has grown significantly slower than the energy of the left (slow growth), but that's ok because this person will lean on the Hierophant's vest (willing to invest). The Hierophant's left boot is behind Mr. Right; therefore Mr. Right is aware of any hidden feet (hidden fees / feelings). Unlike the person on the left, who comes from a background of wild, unchecked growth (bushes / bullshit), Mr. Right has a solid story building behind him (solid history of building).
Now if we look at these in terms of relationships / money / situations, you'll see this card is calling us out for giving our attention (a ten, ten) to the wrong shit. We focus more on the energies that are conceited, impatient, needy, inattentive, wild, irresponsible, & only want to take from us, & ignore the folks who are stable, patient, supportive & willing to invest in us. We claim we are looking for Mr. Right, but based on this picture he could be joined to our damn hip & we wouldn't notice. Mr. Right has his face on the Hierophant's pocket (face on a pocket / pays out of pocket), yet we prefer to pay into situations that are more interest-bearing (interesting).
Why is that?? Why do we not focus on what we claim to desire? Something is imbalanced here. Either we must admit that we actually want the fuckboy & figure out why that's the case, or turn our damn attention towards a more stable, mature energy that is apparently RIGHT THERE (if we look). But continuing to feed the very energy we claim is depleting us, is insanity. (Hi, I'm Oubria & I'm insane)
You can't say you're saving money for a house (right), but then spend your check on bullshit & get a payday loan (left). You can't say you're gonna eat right & exercise (right), & but then (with a mouth full of cookies) say you'll start tomorrow (left). The shadow energy of this card is evident in the Hierophant's eyes. They are CLOSED. He's not looking at what he's doing, or where his attention, money & time are truly going. He's on auto-pilot, operating from his unconscious. In order to make the switch to align his actions with his values, he'd have to wake up & pay attention to his own habits & their results. Stepping into the light wouldn't be pretty necessarily, but it would allow him to close the gap between who he says he is & who he really is.
Here's (one of) my (MANY) Six of Pentacle(s) story(s):
This was at the job I was telling y'all about, where I was having sex with my married supervisor, all the while claming I didn't like him or want to be having sex with him. I became close friends with another girl who worked there, & when I confided in her about me & the supervisor's relationship, she confided that she'd been fucking him even longer than I had. (She was 19, I was 21, he was 36) Upon realizing we shared a secret, somehow it made us brave enough to admit we were also attracted to each other. I was adamant that I was not gay, but she & I were intimate a couple of times. So here I was sleeping with this girl, and sleeping with my supervisor, & this girl was also sleeping with our supervisor, who was married. This shit became like a cult or something. She & I would go to lunch together & then argue over who was going to bring him back his food.
Anyway I remember this one day that I was sitting at my desk in between calls & I pulled out my Bible. A different supervisor walked over & started roasting tf out of me for reading my Bible at work. And I remember being so...offended. He'd seen me at the parties & looking back he probably knew what I was doing (it was a small office) but I argued him down about how much I loved God & the word of God & how dare he insinuate it was something wrong with me reading my Bible in that environment. I really couldn't see how I must have looked like the biggest damn confused hypocrite until years later. It's like, girl either quit fucking your married boss & your female friend with your "straight" self or just leave your damn Bible at home, geez, ugh.
One of my favorite bible verses is, "Blessed is the man whom God corrects, so do not despise the discipline of the almighty." (Job 5:17) We must be grateful for those moments where God turns our selves around, otherwise we'd end up where we're going. This card is about divine calibration & loving adjustments- which can be humiliating tbh but the alternative is so much worse.
What are y'alls Six of Pentacles?
(& Happy Thanksgiving!!)
Edit: 7:35pm I had a huge duhhhhhh moment where I saw that the literal meaning of this card is CHANGE lololol. It's saying you have to change in order to manifest what you want. You have to get aligned / in line (oh snap the dudes are in line) with who you say you are. If you're not aligned / in line, you have to change.
But another thing I noticed, which I think is the deeper shadow of this card, is the fact that sometimes we want the attention of someone who doesn't act (right) within their integrity. Have you ever been really attracted to & loyal to somebody (I have), willing to invest in them & pay out of your pocket for them (I have), because you know that even though they don't look at you at all, they have hidden feelings for you? (I have) But then you get sick & tired of being loyal & stable & supportive & ignored... so you switch sides & become the needy, desperate, impatient, dramatic person they're accustomed to paying attention to...? (I have)
I still don't know how to deal with it either. I can't figure out if being emotionally stable is worth being lonely af. I mean for the most part it is, but sometimes its not. The only way to be cool with being a supportive, loyal lonely person would be to figure out a way to be attracted to people who are attracted to supportive, loyal, lonely people. Which means I would have to change because if I'm honest with myself, I am really not attracted to stable people. They boring. Which is crazy because I guess that means I come off as boring to the people I'm attracted to because I refuse to be dramatic & shit anymore. But now I'm lonely hahahahaha. So I guess in terms of this card, I'm stuck in the middle- I'm not attractive to the people I'm attracted to, & I'm not attracted to the people I attract. WTF
After I studied this card a bit, I see why the Most High picked it for the day before Thanksgiving.
Of course, it starts with family. The Minor Arcana card Six of Cups is the glowing love child of the Sun card (Sun) & the Death card (Scorpio). The Sun card represents the joy, optimism, protection, freedom & spiritual gifts that come with total submission of the ego to the Most High; & remember the Death card (Scorpio) represents complete obliteration of relationships, authorities & circumstances blocking a brand new day. Basically, the Six of Cups (Sun in Scorpio) is the kid destined to do big things.
Let's look at the Six of Cups literally: There are two people, both wearing red hoods. The hood is still fitting for the woman on the right, but ill fitting the dude on the left. Not only that, but if you look at his legs, you'll see that he's literally growing out of a plant. There are four plants in the foreground (including the one he grew out of), so we can assume he outgrew someone else's earlier (be-four/ before) plants (plans). He's showing off his plant (plan) to the person closest to him, but his plant (plan) is too high (ambitious). She wonders if he'll bring them down a bit...? He realizes she needs to see him as stooped (stupid). Even stooped down though, he's grown taller than her. Behind them is the wall, yes? So against her wall (will), she looks up at him & against his wall (will), he looks down at her. With her left foot behind the plant in the corner, we can assume she feels left behind & cornered. There are plants (plans) but no growth where she stands. Actually, if you look closer, her right foot is between plants (plans). She's unstable. She wears one mitten, which prevents her from putting her bare hand (helping with) his plan. She won't (one) admit it (mitten) but she can't handle his growth. She hides her other glove (hides her love) from him. We only see one side of the man's body; this perspective of him is one sided. She can't see that he is supported by a pillar that holds a higher plant (plan). Behind the higher plant (plan) is a shadow's path. The shadow's spear simultaneously rests at a dead end on the side of the wall & spears the plant (Dead inside; spirit plan).
Since this is a Cups card, it deals with emotion, or in this case, intuition. The Sun bestows the gift of clarity to Scorpio, revealing clearly what is dead. When you speak to someone who doesn't support your growth or embrace your plans, you literally feel dead inside. It is a higher spiritual plant (plan) that this be the case, that you would keep your plant (plan) to yourself. Become self-tall (taught).
Shutting the hell up is the point of this card I think, because it's impossible to explain yourself to those who don't understand you, & unnecessary to explain yourself to the folks who do. The way you feel when you discuss your plans is how you'll know the difference; if you somehow wind up feeling stupid & dead inside, like a shadow of yourself, you're talking the the wrong folks. If you feel sky high & alive, you've found your tribe. Unfortunately, your tribe is rarely found at the family table. Even Jesus said (Luke 4:24), "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown." The shadow of energy of this card is what happens when you keep trying, even after you notice your nearest & dearest suddenly looking at you a-type-of-way. The light is accepting that everybody isn't going to be happy for your progress because for whatever reason, your growth makes them feel small.
You see how dude bends slightly to be knee-deep in the bushes? He's belittling himself because he's needy (knee deep) in this bullshit (bushes). He's grown up with it. It's all he's ever known. You see how, from this perspective, the corner of the roof will poke him in the head if he stands straight up? This means he's got to move out from under this roof, & climb up out of these bushes (bullshit) in order to walk tall on his spiritual path. Sometimes the only way to prove that you've grown is to get gone.
Why stoop in the shadow when you can stand in the light? It's crazy though because the first thing you see in the light is the corpses of half-ass, non-supportive relationships.
Dead bodies everywhere.
Here's my Six-Of-Cups story:
I was struggling to come up with a story for this energy but then I realized it's because this energy is subtle af. It's hard to articulate that Six of Cups shit, because it's not so much what people say to make you feel small, it's what they don't say or how they say the things they do say. No one comes out & says they don't believe in you or they wish you'd sit down somewhere, they say things like, "Tell me about your back-up plan," or "Is that little project bringing in any money yet?"
You know what I mean? Condescension. But notice it never, ever comes from people who feel good about their own growth. People who feel good about themselves tend to mentor others because life yields life. Growth fosters growth. Condescending remarks always come from the people who want to tear you down because they're jealous. You are growing & they are not. You feel alive & they feel dead, & they hate you for your happiness. So I guess the Six of Cups is the spiritual intuition of knowing who's a mentor & who's a hater, depending on how they react to your plans.
When I first started mentioning the Melanated Classic Tarot Deck to my friends & family, they didn't really know wtf I was talking about. My (used to be) nearest & dearest don't mess with tarot or spirituality too tough. It's kind of lots of Jesus or nothing. They know me as being a writer & anything short of me saying I PUBLISHED A BOOK, they feel like I'm just distracted from my path. They don't think I'm evolving, they think I'm avoiding.
About two years after I moved to Cali, an old friend of mine from Chicago came to visit. I told her I was getting into tarot, & then I showed her my closet. When I was first learning the cards, I took a small closet in my home & pushpinned every card from my first deck on the wall inside the closet, & then I would sit cross-legged on the closet floor & study them, like in a tarot chamber. It was awesome!
Anyway, I showed my friend my tarot chamber, which would obviously indicate dedication & interest, but she didn't see that. She said, "Are you writing? Because the Oubria I know is a WRITER." Y'all.
Ok so flash forward like a year from then, & I'm accepting pre-orders for the deck & its blowing up online & all that. I explained to her that I'd taken a pretty popular deck & made it black, & that people were responding well. She listened but she didn't say much.
About a month after that, a very popular singer whose music I love emailed me & told me she'd bought one of the decks & she was excited to get it. We chatted back & forth a bit via a few emails. I was OVER THE MOOOOOON. I wound up talking to my friend on the phone later that week. She's a teacher; she talked non-stop for like 40 minutes about her students, the administration, her nigga, her kids, her mama, & I listened to every single word, gave great advice, all that. Finally she got tired of talking & said, "Now what's going on with you?"
In the past when she asked me that, I always had problems to match her problems, you know? But this day, I was feeling good. My favorite singer's favorite singer bought something I MADE. So I told her the story. She was like uh huh, huh, for real, ooh girl let me call you back.
Same thing happened with my sister- I told her about the singer buying the deck & my sister said, "Oh & you believed that was really her?"
Alright, I'm done. Happy Thanksgiving. Share your pies, not your plans.
What are y'alls Six of Cups?
7:16 pm Edit: I had to come back to this post bc if Imma do this work, I have to DO it. (Sigh) I have definitely been a hater. It wasn't that I hated anyone but I hated how their accomplishments made me feel because I wasn't on the same level, & I was unstable & I had hella plans but no growth. My younger sister went to medical school & started making really good money when she was fairly young. She is very smart & worked her ass off but when she hit certain milestones I lowkey wanted to avoid her just so I would't be faced with my own failure. When she bought her first house, I should have been first to go see it but I made hella excuses. When she opened her first practice, she had to ask me to come by. I didn't inquire oyherwise. My sister and I are very close in age & my father always compared us. When we were kids I could beat her at anything but since we've been adults she has whooped me in every category, from financial stability, to physical fitness, travelling- you name it. On paper I am a total loser when it comes to her. I know we all have our own paths & I wouldn't trade my journey for anything but I would like to be able to genuinely be happy for my sister even when I am miserable for myself. I really don't want to be a hater, it sucks. Whew...
I once asked the ancestors in my maternal line (through a tarot reading), "What is the energy y'all been dealing with forever that you want me to break?" & THIS card popped out. Ugh there's so much I want to say about this damn card I am overwhelmed. Let me begin at the beginning, drive slow.
First, the family. The Five of Pentacles (Mercury in Taurus) is the Minor Arcana portrait of its Major Arcana Parents, Mercury (the Magician/ left) & Taurus (The Hierophant / right).
Any card that has Magician energy means shit is finna get tricky. The Magician can either mean manifestation or manipulation, depending on the day. Imo, in this card, the Magician means manipulation. I mean, let's look at the Magician- dude is able bodied & confident af, all powerful, with the four tools of creation (spirit, emotion, thought, resources) at his fingertips, so why is he appearing in the Five of Pentacles as a wounded 'lil troll? Why is he using his tools like crutches instead of being a craftsman? Because manipulation, that's why. He's following up behind the Hierophant, & something ain't right about that either. First of all, why is the Hierophant, the keeper of order, structure & faith, dictator of ritual (rich, you all) outside the church, barefoot in the cold? What in the hell is going on here??
Let's look at the card literally. There is a broken man (or appears broken anyway), following behind a woman. From his demeanor, we can assume he's losing her (a loser). If he says anything, it's likely a plea, or please. Or perhaps he's uncertain about how / when he'll get out of the cold, so he asks her over & over, "Go in? Go in?" (Going, Going) He's drawn to the church peephole, which looks so warm & pleasing. (People pleasing) She presses forward, despite her cold feet. She has no shoes (choose / choice). She is so tired. It's snowing (it's no win / it's no end).
Let's discuss the Hierophant a little further. The Hierophant represents the individual law & order within each person. We all have our own personal laws & code of ethics that we adhere to, whether we discuss it or not. Each person has their list of things they will do & the things they won't do. It's called integrity, & is the foundation of self-respect, or the ability to consider one's own wants & needs because they are consistent, ordered, law. Self-respect is the by-product of an interior landscape that does not change, that does not flux, regardless of circumstance or influence. It is the result of becoming a law unto oneself, where one's principles can safely abide.
Trigger Alert: But like panties pushed aside even though you said no a thousand times, the Hierophant can be lured from her sacred inner riches into a life of moral bankruptcy with a single fucking word: PLEASE. & Lord knows these Magicians love to say please. Please baby can I borrow your car, please can I take the condom off, please let me hold $20, please let me fuck one more time, please suck it, please suck it, please do this for me (its the last time, I promise) please understand, please take me back, please don't be mad, please don't tell, please don't yell, please don't cry, please don't go, please have my baby, please have an abortion, please hang up the phone, please pick up the phone, please come back, please trust me, please forgive me, gimme one more chance, please, please, pleas, pleas, pleas.
It's literally exhausting, you know? It wears a bitch down. But what are you gonna do? We sympathize, empathize, rationalize. We're GOOD PEOPLE. We don't leave folks (especially broken, needy folks) behind. It ain't right! We weren't raised to say no! We were taught to say yes, to be agreeable, pleasing. (Peep-hole / people pleasing.) We were taught that should someone pay attention to us, even if just for a moment (a peep!), they better see someone warm & inviting. Though we hesitate (cold feet), we have no shoes (choose). Please. You have to. It's the magic word (Magician's word).
Yes, please is the shadow energy of this card, but the light is right there on the flip side. The midget Magician motherfucker has successfully switched our reality by turning our kindness against ourselves, & all we gotta do is switch it back. Look at the church behind the Hierophant; this is the Hierophant's home, yes? This is the place where her principles can safely abide, the kingdom of heaven within her? So all she has to do is go in. Not keep going, going with the bullshit but stop, say NO, & go abide within her original morals & decisions, effectively leaving him out. Simple. Dwelling inside your self-respect is heaven & living outside your integrity is hell. Do you want to be in hell? HELL NO. And the fun thing about saying hell no is you can always say it no matter how many times you've already said yes. You might feel guilty but that's manipulation, don't forget. Everybody is able bodied & equipped with their own ability to manifest & do for self, ESPECIALLY a freaking Magician. No one is a loser here. Everybody can go in (Go, Win!).
Here's my five of pentacles story: (Disclaimer: This story is uncomfortable for me & I use the n**** word a lot. I am sorry to whoever that offends)
When I was like 20, I worked for a telemarketing company up north (Chicago). One of the supervisors was 36, kind of cute, & hella flirty with everybody except me. I felt left out, so I started going out of my way to be noticed by him, even though I wasn't that attracted to him. But the fact that he didn't automatically like me & try to fuck me, bothered me because he tried to fuck everybody else. If you grew up in Chicago (or anywhere for that matter) you know that by a certain age, you measure your self-esteem against a nigga's thirst. (If he ain't trying to holla, I must not be cute...) About a week into us flirting, he told me he was married, so I backed way the hell off. I was so young that it hadn't really dawned on me yet that niggas really be out here cheating on their wives, because I'd only had boyfriends my age. I thought somehow my morals would make him feel convicted, & he'd stop flirting so hard - not just with me, but with everybody. But it didn't work that way- he kept flirting with all the other girls but stopped flirting with me & lowkey called me a prude/unrealistic. I felt left out, so I started flirting with him again. Now I'm still thinking shit is innocent or whatever, because I was young. I did not recognize that I was playing with fire. The job would have these payday parties at a local lounge with food & hella Tequila, & one day he asked me if I was gonna go to the party (please?). I felt included & I liked that feeling, so I said yeah. Then he asked me to wear a skirt to the party (please?) & I said yes to that too. I had taken the bus there, but I needed a ride home (please?). About an hour before the party ended, dude offered & I was grateful.
We had been in his car a few blocks when he started touching on my thigh. I wasn't ready for all of that (although I did wear the skirt like he asked) but I didn't know how to say stop, no, so he kept doing it. His hand went higher & higher & when I didn't stop him, next thing I knew he had pulled the car over & was on top of me. Like, in seconds. & I kept asking myself if I'd agreed to this but I knew I hadn't because I was on the last day of my period & I was still wearing a tampon, so I was in no way prepared. But instead of screaming my head off I literally tapped him on his shoulder like he was blocking the restroom- ahem...could you move please? Before he stopped, he told me he loved me & called me his wife's name. Somehow with my skirt around my waist & the seat belt bruising my ass, I pitied him.
The next day, my lungs shut down & I went to the hospital for a couple of days. I remember it was finals week at my junior college & I missed taking my exams, + a week of work. When I got back to the job, he looked stressed because I'd been gone so long (maybe he thought I'd quit??) - idk- & I felt so bad that I'd worried him that I stopped being mad about what happened. He started inviting me to just drink tequila & fuck in his car after work & I accepted because I knew if I didn't, somebody would. I wanted to feel special or... something. (Not trash...? Not thrown away...?) I really started to hate that nigga though, because he was just a terrible person & I couldn't articulate why I kept spending time with him. Just before all this started, I'd begun the application process to transfer to a Liberal Arts college in New Mexico. I didn't recognize myself at all when I was dealing with him (yes there's more, no I'm not finna tell it), but receiving the acceptance letter to go to my little art school in the desert saved my life because it helped me see... ME again. I'd finally (finally!) accomplished something worthy of my own respect, that reminded me of the person I knew I was but had forgotten I could be. (Go, win!) That, plus knowing I was about to move cities to pursue my goals & hone my talents helped me start saying no to him. As a complete sentence too, with no explanation. Just nope. Hell no.
I don't know about y'all but this one was heavy af for me.
What are your Five-of-Pentacles?
P.S. I read EVERY COMMENT. I may not be able to respond yet but I read every single one. THANK YOU ALL.
I just want to preface this post by saying y'all are showing up & showing out for each other & I'm in deep appreciation of your vulnerability. I think I might ugly cry a few times before this work is done.
Once again I shuffled & I was surprised (but not really) that the Five of Cups came out. Just like the Nine of Swords, the Five of Cups carries Tower energy. Even though I've taught this card a bunch, I prayed for discernment before writing this post & I feel like I was today years old before I fully understood it. The Five of Cups is a Minor Arcana card & carries the energy of two Major Arcana cards: The Tower (Mars) & Death (Scorpio). If the Tower & Death are the parents, the Five of Cups is the child.
This energy is actually in my birth chart because my natal Mars is in Scorpio, so its a bit of a blindspot for me. I've always looked at it like the liquid spilled out in the first three cups wasn't even love, so there's no use being upset about it. in the tarot, love is represented by clear water, not whatever tf this red & green goo is. I figured the card was indicating that if you could muster the strength to turn away from your loss, you would see that there was another opportunity for love & happiness right behind you, as represented by the two upright cups. But today the Most High was like nawl boo that's backwards af.
These cards always reveal themselves literally tho, that's what trips me out. The truth is staring us right in the face. This dude is concentrating very deeply on a loss, right? And what's behind him? A GAIN. Behind him, is an opportunity to gain back two of the three cups he's lost. But what do the words A-GAIN also spell? AGAIN. Which is the card's way of telling us that whatever is in those two cups, this person has already experienced in the three cups. This person has already been disappointed & depressed by what was in those cups so why in the world would he turn around & do it again??? It appears as though this cycle is the only option, though, since the cups are at his front & his back. He appears stuck. Which is true, but the card is trying to hint that in order to become unstuck, this person would have to MOVE ON. There is no clear path around the pain. There's no way to avoid the loss. The only thing to do is to pick up his feet & get over it.
That resistance to getting over it, moving on, accepting the loss without searching for a way to risk it again, is the shadow energy of the Five of Cups. Much like the Nine of Swords, the light of this card is hidden in darkness, because the only way out is through. Therefore the shadow of the card is lurking in light, in the optimism that somehow the same drink that poisoned you, can heal you, or that the same feeling that broke you, can fix you.
Let's talk about why there's only two cups behind dude anyway, since it was three that he lost. To explain that, we have to talk about this card's parents. Remember, the Five of Cups is a combination of Mars & Scorpio energy. Once again, with Mars we have the Tower (on the right). With Scorpio, we have Death (on the left).
We already know the Tower is the finger of God tearing us apart in order get us together. Death is the energy of total transformation & renewal regardless of the upheaval caused by the change. If we put these two energies together, we can see the Five of Cups is God being intent on ruining anything that stands between us being born again. I don't necessarily mean in the Christian sense either, I just mean that people have a tendency to unconsciously perpetuate fucked up family patterns & cycles, even though they suck. When God is tired of that & ready to wash us off, freshen us up & do a new thing in our bloodline, we'll find every door to those specific ancestral behaviors either slammed shut or filled with misery. Sometimes the generational curse is supposed to stop with us, but we resist bcus we love cursing. Its hard af to quit cursing.
Ok, back to the three spilled cups. Certain cards in the tarot reveal their meaning with the help of other cards. In this case, the three spilled cups represent the one cup in the Ace of Cups (on the right) + the two cups in the Two of Cups (on the left).
The Ace of Cups is a giant cup of love from the hand of the Most High, for you to do with what you please. The Two of Cups shows a couple exchanging their cups with each other. Their cups represent the intention to love each other based on how they themselves have been loved. However if these people have not been loved properly, then the cups they give to each other is not love, but poison. This is why the finger of God (Tower) strikes in the Five of Cups & causes the true contents of the exchange to be exposed. Since pure water can't mix with dirty water without getting dirty, the Ace of Cups from the Most High has been tainted as well.
Now that's a hard pill to swallow though, because it means accepting 1) the love you've been giving wasn't love, 2) the love you've been receiving wasn't love, & 3) all that stuff that wasn't love poisoned the purity inside you (God's love). To cope with the loss, which feels like a death (because no one is who you thought they were, not even yourself) you turn around & say this time I'll do better, this time I'll be sweeter, this time... & you do it again.
Ok yeah, God is not the author of confusion, so the Most High doesn't put His cup in that mess again. Hence there only being two cups upon turning around, instead of three. I've learned from experience that when you remain in a relationship cycle where you're trying to give & receive love from a space the Most High refuses to replenish, you stay losing, diminished, dark, depressed, sad, stuck, lost, drunk in love (wasted).
I'll give you an example-
Technically this story starts with my mother, may she RIP. I'm finna tell her business which would have mortified her when she was alive, but now that she's passed on, she's always nudging me to share her mishaps if they can help somebody. DON"T JUDGE MY MAMA, THO.
The love of my mama's life was a married man. Somehow (Five of Cups) they never officially ended up together, but they remained tight af until the day she passed. Once we were both adults & could speak freely with each other, we had several conversations about the nature of their relationship. Mostly, she expressed regret that she'd never found someone who wasn't married to openly love & support her & give her the honor she deserved. When I asked her why she didn't (bcus my mama was fiiiine, ok?) she explained that in her head she wanted to, but her heart was just... stuck on dude. She couldn't properly be with him but she couldn't get over him either. She said she would try to be with other men & tell her Mr. Married to quit calling, but ultimately she'd always go back to him because, love. My daddy turned out to be one of the other men she briefly tried to be with. The crazy shit is, during the year she was pregnant with me, Mr. Married finally divorced his wife & was willing to help her raise me, but she turned him away trying to do the "right thing," by my daddy. When I was around one years old she tried to go back to Mr. Married because things with my daddy wasn't working, but when she called, Mr. Married was literally one day away from wedding to wife #2. He married someone else (had to do "right" by her, you know?), & him and my mama were just heartbroken as hell & pitiful af for the rest of her life.
Now for my part. When I was in high school, I dated this one dude, but over time I fell in love with another dude who was a mutual friend of ours. When I realized I had feelings for our friend, I didn't know what to do, & I did everything wrong. I cheated on my bf with his friend, then broke up with my bf. But my bf felt so bad about the breakup that I got back together with him, kept cheating with his friend, got caught & ruined my reputation & lost a lot of friends & respect (esp. self-respect). The relationship with me & the dude I fell in love with did not work out no matter how hard we tried, & we desired each other madly so we tried up until two years ago, all throughout our other relationships, including my marriage & his engagement. We called it being friends or whatever the hell but truly, it was an emotional affair (& at the very end, a physical affair too) that lasted for 22 damn years, & every time it ended, it ended in a huge tower moment that came out of nowhere because God ain't finna bless no mess, PERIODT.
Now for his part. The dude I fell in love with & tried to be with for 22 years (who I think is my twin flame tbh if you believe in that sort of thing) has a bit of family history that plays into this as well. His father was married for a long time & had five living daughters but no living sons (two died in infancy). Towards the end of his marriage, he met my dude's mom, who was mad younger than him. He had an affair with her, & wound up divorcing his wife & leaving his daughters. Not long after, my friend's mom got pregnant with my friend (his father's first living son), & the rest is history. They are still married to this day, even though their marriage still carries a great deal of energetic resentment & anger from my friend's father's first family. The irony is not lost on me that I have five children & I was super pressed to leave my husband to be with my friend, meaning I was "loving him" by emulating his father & trying to turn him into his mother. Eventually I had to accept that I was appearing toxic af in his life story. I thought it was "romantic" to choose him at all costs, but realistically, what do I look like ruining his friendships, relationships & my marriage in the name of "soulmates..?" & What does he look like breaking up his engagement & my family in the name of "destiny?" No. Just... no.
Also, what are the odds that I was born to my father instead of my mother's long time love? What are the odds that my friend was born to his mother instead of his father's first wife? Clearly God was ready to do something new with both our generational lines (born again), & the Most High was not willing that we should eff up a brand new beginning by repeating those same toxic patterns with each other.
Thank you for reading all of that if you did, even though it was super messy. That also is the lesson of the Five of Cups- its MESSY. We can't clean that up, no matter how hard we try. We can't put lipstick on a pig. We can't go back in time & fix it. We can't repeat the same mistakes, only better this time, I promise. That's crazy.
All we can do is ask the Most High to help us move forward into our a new story, where His grace is the focal point & not this bullshit. We look at this card & we see something "wasted," & yet the Most High is saying Baby, waste it. Its basura. Come get something better.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
What's y'all Five of Cups?
I shuffled the deck good & plenty while asking the Most High which card should begin our shadow work & I was surprised (but shouldn't have been) when the nine of swords popped out.
For those of you who don't know, the Nine of Swords is what's known as a "Minor Arcana," card in the tarot. Most Minor Arcana cards are a combination of two energies from the Major Arcana. In this case, the two Major Arcana cards that create the energy of the Nine of Swords are the Tower (which represents the planet Mars) & the Lovers (which represent the astrological sign of Gemini).
Therefore the Nine of Swords is also known as Mars in Gemini, or the Tower in the Lovers. The Tower card deals with moments of divine intervention that appear destructive & unsettling but are actually meant to keep us from continuing to strive in the wrong direction; The Lovers is about choices, whether in relationship, business, artistic endeavors, etc. - that reveal the naked truth of who we are. When you put these two energies together (Tower + the Lovers) the Nine of Swords depicts what happens when the Most High keeps sending destructive & unsettling events meant to shock us out of our poor choices & re-direct us towards our personal truth & highest path- even if it tears us away from the places & faces where (if not for the damn towers) we feel comfortable.
In the Nine of Swords, we've made our bed, therefore our first instinct is to lie in it. The tarot is literal & therefore "lie in it," has a double meaning. Since swords represent air (thoughts/ speech), the nine of swords represent the things we say to ourselves & others in an attempt to tolerate an intolerable situation. Not only do we continue to be complacent (lie in it), but we also pretend (lie in it) that everything is fine. It's only at night when we're alone with ourselves that we reveal the depths of our discomfort & admit the truth that we just can't take this shit no more. This feeling of despair is actually our blessing, because it's divinely sent clarity that we can't keep going like this. No matter the cost, changes must be made. What felt right at one point has turned out to be really, really wrong. If we could just admit that we made a mistake, we would be free to choose again.
Yet it is here, in the midst of our confusion, exhaustion & desperation, right when we're (thank God!) ready to admit defeat, that the damn Devil enters the chat. You weren't wrong, he says. Are you really going to give up so easily? Can't you figure out a way? What about the people who love you & depend on you? Would you really abandon them? Won't you fight for them? Don't you love them? Doesn't love bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things?
And then instead of accepting our misery-as-healing & taking up our mat to GO, we lie back down in the bed we've made, somehow convinced that if we only try again but harder, something will change. This is how hope (which should be a wonderful thing) becomes the shadow energy of despair, because it pressures us to hold on when the Most High is doing everything in His power to make us let go (or be dragged).
I'll give you an example-
When I first got together with my soon-to-be ex-husband, there were nine significant red flags (read: tower moments) early in the relationship. However we committed to each other very quickly (moved in together after two weeks & I became pregnant within a month), so instead of seeing these red flags as the screaming exit signs they were, I felt obligated to double down & barricade the door. The first flag was his inability to hold a stable job. He told me he was trying / looking for work, yet I kept finding half-filled, crumpled job applications in the trunk & backseat of my car. Instead of stepping back to observe his behavior, I told myself he needed a cheerleader to motivate him harder.
The second red flag was his temper. The smallest rebuke or suggestion would set him off. Instead of recognizing I was tying my life to someone with an angry, combative spirit, I told myself he needed to be loved harder & understood more. The third red flag was the fact that he never had money, & if I handed him money, he never brought me my change. Instead of admitting to myself that I was being used, I convinced myself that love was more important than money. The fourth red flag was the discovery that he was still emotionally & sexually involved with his ex-wife. Since I was already pregnant & desperately unwilling to be a single mother, I convinced myself that because I'd never been married, I was naive to the difficulties & complications of emotions post-divorce. The fifth red flag was the fact that my friends & family gave the relationship a huge HELL NO. Instead of admitting I should listen to those who loved & knew me best, I convinced myself I'd been changed by love & they just didn't understand.
The sixth red flag was the fact that he rarely cleaned the home we shared, even when the small children from his first marriage were visiting. Instead of seeing I was setting myself up to be overworked, I told myself this is "just how it is when you live with a man." The seventh red flag was that he didn't have a car of his own, yet was irresponsible with mine, including filth, several parking tickets & a couple of minor accidents. Yet I told myself I shouldn't care so much about material things, & that I should be more forgiving. The eighth red flag was that he had no concrete plans for his future (a litany of complaints about his life tho!). I told myself he'd never been taught to plan (poor baby) but that I would teach him. The ninth red flag was that he signed up for school (upon my insistence) but was soon begging me to complete his overdue assignments. I told myself I needed to quit being so mean & use my smarts to help my man.
Y'all! All these tower moments occurred within the first six months of our relationship. Soon I'd gone from being a single, independent, focused, happy college graduate, to being a pregnant, overworked (three jobs!), broke, depressed, stressed, battle-tested, alienated, humiliated, frustrated baby mama, in a dirty apartment, with dents all over my car, increased auto-insurance & blunt guts & weed crumbs always on the floor mats. Before long I hated my life, & funded it at the same time. It was like going bankrupt buying handcuffs & a noose. Every single tower moment was the finger of God's love illuminating the fact I needed to admit I was wrong, cut my losses & move on, but the longer I stayed with him (& convinced my family and friends I was right to do so), the longer I trapped myself with my own excuses, codependency & shame. Instead of waking up to the clarity that it was all fucked up, I rocked myself to sleep for 12 years (& birthed five children) hoping the situation would magically improve. Spoiler alert: It didn't.
Even now, I feel fucked up telling y'all all that. I don't want you to see my almost ex-husband as the bad guy, or me as a big dummy. I want to tell you that I'm not perfect, & that his mama abandoned him & his grandma died & his daddy was mean. What I'm saying is that I still want to make excuses, even after all this time. Even though I've had to part ways to keep my sanity, my heart still wants to hope, believe, bear, endure, because that's who I am & that's how I love. Still, I'm through letting my love be used against me. Sometimes the only way to heal & restore ourselves is to ignore glimmers of hope & embrace the darkness of despair. It's hard to admit that it will never get better, but that's the only truth that sets you free.
Still, leaving felt impossible. It has been a series of baby steps forward & giant steps back. I have had to overcome my fear of being alone in the dark, & control my instinct to run towards the tower simply because it lights up the sky.
Ok, that's my story. Please share your Nine-of-Swords stories in the comments, even if yours is exactly like mine or someone else's & you don't want to be redundant. Please, let's be redundant. This is a truth that needs to be spoken again, again, again.
I'm so glad y'all are here!
all of us.