I’ve been reading tarot professionally for many years now. The more I read, the more I become aware of the resistance we have as humans, to facing challenging situations. Many clients come in hoping I will tell them their struggles are over. That they are right around the corner from finding the right relationship or their dream job.
I wish that I could make it so. Unfortunately, I can’t will it to be true. I can only read what I see and what I see a lot is how we get in our own way. We think that everything should go as we planned it out. We think life is a complicated calculus equation, in which I did this work, so I should get that result. When, it doesn’t work out that way, we get frustrated and impatient.
And I’m not blaming you, reader. I do this, too. You better believe I have been struggling through some very real Four of Swords “YOU NEED TO REST NOW” struggles myself.
In the Minor arcana of the tarot and even in the Majors, the beginning cards are where we are in something new and exciting. It is the feeling of being renewed and energized. This is when we feel ambitious and excited to see what our pursuits will bring. The latter cards are the opportunity to reap the rewards of our hard work and our progress and to acknowledge our hard work and how far we have come.
The middle cards tell another story, entirely. The 4-8 in each suit and the middle line of the Major Arcana, show the struggles of daily life. The constriction, overwhelm and self-doubt that progress brings.
Unfortunately, most of life is about getting down in the muck and working things out. Most of life takes place in these middle cards. Maybe we are struggling to work through a conflict with the Five of Wands, or having to leave something behind without knowing where we are going with the Six of Swords, or grieving with the Five of Cups. All of these are struggles we face almost daily as we move towards becoming the truest and more whole-hearted versions of ourselves.
Sure, the celebration of the Ten of Cups, or the relief of the Nine of Pentacles look good from the outside. When we are in the struggle, all we can think about is the relief we will feel on the other side. But when we get to that place, we have a greater appreciation for the journey that got us there.
The middle cards of the tarot make us strong. Take the middle line of the Major Arcana, for example. We move through finding moderation and tempering our reactions with Strength, to the suspension of the Hanged One, and finally through the release and rebirth of Death to Temperance. This is not for the faint of heart. We confront our deepest fears and surrender control. In fact, we learn that control is merely an illusion.
It’s in these struggles that we find ourselves, we reinvent ourselves, and we move forward with growth and conviction. But human nature wants us to skip the struggle and reap the rewards. That’s why there are so many of us looking for a way to get rich quick or reading articles on the top stock tips to try to pick the one sure thing that will allow us to retire early. With everything that is happening this year in particular with the Covid-19 Pandemic, the struggles for equity for black people in America and all over the world, and so many people fighting for LQTBQIA rights, this year has challenged our collective desire to quickly move through discomfort.
Don’t skip the struggle. This isn’t to glorify suffering. No one wants to struggle, but to struggle, to persevere, to make mistakes, that is what makes us human.
I have always believed tarot is a resource that empowers us to keep pushing forward when we feel discouraged and reminding us that it’s okay to fall down, as long as we keep getting up and moving forward. Tarot reminds us that progress is our goal, not perfection.
© Sheila Masterson 2020 All Rights Reserved