Dusk settled in over the valley as we grew silent and took in the landscape. The rose and violet sky created a perfect backdrop for rusty mountains, shades of emerald dancing across their faces here and there as the sun dipped below the horizon. As night began to deepen, we saw an elderly couple silhouetted at the lookout on a nearby ridge, their tender embrace a reminder that romance is possible at any age. Smiling at one another, we retreaded from the cool darkness into the promise of warmth that the cabin held.
A potbelly stove stood in the corner, stoked and beginning to chase away the chill as we started to settle in. We lit candles whose warm glow didn't quite reach the darkest corners of the room. In the flickering light, we gathered on pillowed benches encircling the dining table. The inky dark peered at us from our un-shuttered windows and inspired us into telling spooky stories. Something about being in an isolated location with little light and lots of girls always prompts a sleepover mentality and the boys did their best to frighten us, which in my case is not a challenge.
Deciding I needed a break from the spirit world, I stepped away to begin dinner preparations in the next room. Uneasily looking into the night, I spooked myself and quickly focused all of my attention to the task at hand. Upon hearing Alex mention tarot cards her dad had given her, I quickly rushed over wanting to participate and Joe volunteered to finish dinner while we began. None of us had dealt with tarot before, and we decided to rely our our intuitions and work together to decipher the meanings.
After proposing a question to the void, the participant was to cut the deck three times, shuffle them back together and then choose three at random. The first would represent the present, the second the obstacle and the third the advice. Since not all of us knew each other well and some were complete strangers, it grew silent when someone asked who would go first. Knowing that we needed a guinea pig, I raised my hand and put on my bravest smile, willing myself to appear unafraid. I figured if nothing else it would be a great way to break the ice, and it seemed like there was really nothing to lose.
I drew my first card representing the present and received the Nine of Cups. It depicted a man with wings toasting a woman in the background, with another woman raising her cup in a toast at the foreground next to six more cups stacked in a pyramid next to her. We all joked that this card represented Joe, Naynay and myself having just finished our road trip. We figured the other cups were representative of the fact that I was going to meet new friends and have new opportunities coming my way. The card seemed really positive and we assumed it meant that life right now is full of celebration and new experiences and that it also seemed to represent the fact that we love to enjoy ourselves and try new wines and foods.
After returning home, I deciphered this card on the internet, and as we all know, the internet never lies. So what I discovered on a tarot card(hyperlink) website was that this card represents happiness fulfilled, comfort and satisfaction. It represents enjoying both materialistic and spiritual success as well as the fulfillment realized of a deepest desire. It can also mean that you are a daydreamer and need to really focus to make big ideas a reality. A lot of tarot readers refer to this as the wish card and name it one of the most positive cards in the deck. It can mean that whatever it is your heart desires will be granted, and drawing it means that any wish you desire deeply in your heart will manifest in the near future. The last words of advice for the card were to count your blessings, live in the moment and enjoy all of the good things that life has to offer.
So obviously upon reading the "official" description of the card, I was ecstatic. It seemed to be my current situation exactly. Not only am I currently traveling freely around the world, which has been my deepest desire my entire life, but I'm also a daydreamer and love both the spiritual and material world. I felt that the way we had intuitively felt about the card had been quite similar to the actual description and I was super excited to do research for the other two.
My second card represented my obstacle, and I drew The Fool. This card shows a man looking up into the clouds with one foot on a cliff and the other one about to step off the edge. He looks to be daydreaming and there is a condor in a tree in the background looking over all of the clouds at the cliffs edge. For this one we felt that it represented the fact that sometimes I rush into decisions quickly, with little forethought and sometimes it ends with me in trouble or stepping off a "cliff". I tend to be a daydreamer and sometimes am not paying enough attention to my present reality because I'm too busy planning some new idea. Naynay recently finished a yoga training in Peru and in Incan mythology, the condor represents wisdom and unconditional love, it's a representative of the upper world, one that requires a lot of thoughtfulness and introspection. We felt that this card was hinting that I may need to be less like the fool, and more like the condor, who up in a tree had a view of everything happening.
When I looked up the card, it actually had a fairly positive message. The card represents the number zero, which is the number of unlimited potential. It sees new beginnings, new goals and indicates that anything can happen. It encourages leaps of faith, and to not let fear hold you back from beginning new adventures. The card can be also be interpreted as a person who is stepping from a present life into a new beginning and encourages you to trust in yourself. The condor in the tree is thought to be a protector, watching over you as you begin a new journey of creativity and personal growth.
This card was a lot more positive than I expected, but I definitely feel that fear and anxiety sometimes hold me back and that I do need to trust myself more when making decisions. Fear is the opposite of love, and many emotions stem from fear; anger, frustration, anxiety and stress to name a few. So basically I felt like this card was telling me that fear is my obstacle. It's definitely something I'm working on, and the opportunity to take this trip has been a major leap of faith to change the course of my life.
My last card represented advice, it was The Star and featured a nude girl kneeling in front of a treasure chest that was open with thousands of multicolored dragonflies coming out of it. There was an angel in the clouds in the distance, and the girl was looking up at the stars. For this one we felt that it represented the fact that I'm trying to learn new skills such as writing and that I need help. The angel seemed like a possible mentor or new person of influence in my life. The fact that the girl was nude and kneeling in front of the chest seemed to represent a new change in life and the beautiful dragonflies represented a sort of magic, that anything was possible. We thought that the card represented a sort of wonder at the world, and that perhaps this trip would lead to a new found passion.
I was blown away after reading the interpretation of this card, it was pretty spot on for my life. It said this card signifies that I have endured life's challenges and been through difficult times. It represents a time of healing and transformation and to trust in the universe. It suggests letting go of damaged memories, and that hatred bitterness and envy will no longer shadow my life and future happiness. It says to let go, forgive and forget, so that I can take a hold of new opportunities and undergo a personal transformation. If I am successful, it hints that I will enter a new phase of my life with calm energy, mental stability and deeper understanding of myself and others. The card represents a renewed sense of self esteem, and to honor my true self rather than trying to fulfill a routine that someone else set for me that has little meaning. It tells me to believe and have faith, and that inspiration will come to me. It also says that I have generous spirit and that I want to share wealth and blessings with others to help them transform their lives.
Now for this last card, I should elaborate a bit. I have a saying that I like to use that has to do with an oyster and a grain of sand. I always try to remember that it is the irritation and pain of a grain of sand that causes an oyster to produce a beautiful pearl. Life challenged me quite a bit when I as younger due to my mothers mental illness and she made my brothers' and I childhood somewhat painful and difficult. I realize everyone has their own challenges some worse and some less so, but this was mine. It left me with a lot of anger, resentment and difficulty connecting with people closest to me. This has been something I have been working to heal for some time and this card affirmed to me that I'm on the right path. Another side note for the cards meaning was the idea of giving back. I have a dream of creating a place for people of all backgrounds where they can learn about health, how to grow organic vegetables, hunt, leatherwork or whatever they might like to do that is a somewhat forgotten skill in modern society. It will be a summer camp for children during the summer and the rest of the year function as a place of healing for adults, one where they can come take classes, get naturopathic and acupuncture treatments and take various retreats. I have a passion for people and I love to learn more about them and listen to their stories. I know how lonely it can be to feel like you can't connect to others and I want to create a place where they can do just that.
Going back to that little cabin in the woods, I'm sure you can tell that these cards caused us all to open up quite a bit about our lives, challenges and fears. We were all sharing in a way usually reserved for close companions, but the cards offered us a shield to share with one another and to offer our thoughts and opinions with little fear of rejection. Whether or not there were spirits in the room, the power of six minds working together to find possible meanings for the cards was powerful and after checking our ideas against the interpretations, I was fairly impressed and excited to see how similar a lot of the themes were. The rest of the evening disappeared quickly and the candles began to burn low by the time we had made it all the way around the table. Turning in for the night, we felt new friendships formed and were excited by some discoveries that were made that night; a feeling that would carry through until we parted the next day.
The reason we created this site was to share the world as we are seeing it, with a hope that we might inspire you to let go of any fears you might be holding onto that are inhibiting you from creating the life you dream of. The inspiration I felt this night has carried through for weeks and propelled me to keep pushing through any challenges I have felt with writing and creativity. This trip continues to remind me that doing something you are afraid of can be just the nudge in the right direction to get you rolling on a new path full steam ahead, never looking back.
Have you ever used tarot cards and had a meaningful experience? Tell us about your stories, good or bad, did they have any effect on you? Or once they were put away were they forgotten not to be thought about again until now...
"Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude."