“You may be making some changes.”
A Facebook acquaintance of mine was trying to raise funds recently for something that was important to her. She said she didn’t want to “just take money,” and offered to provide Tarot card readings in exchange for our donations.
I have never, in almost six decades of being alive, had a Tarot card reading. I wanted to help my friend, and a reading is what she wanted to do in exchange for the money, so we proceeded.
The outcome led to an otter, some cups, a bridge and an opportunity to reflect on how my year has gone so far.
Note: I have no expertise in Tarot card reading. If you need an explainer, this one from “How Stuff Works” is probably a decent one.
Am I looking at the “cups” behind me or the ones ahead of me?
My friend used a Native American deck that is based on tribes that have lived across North America (there are many choices of decks). The first of the three cards my friend drew was the “Five of Cups.” The “Five of Cups” card in this deck contains an image of an otter, which my friend says represents change (because otters slip in and out of the water).
There are many interpretations of Tarot cards online. One from Biddy Tarot about this card made more sense to me than the otter image. It talked about one version of the “Five of Cups” card in which a figure is looking at three overturned cups. These cups represent disappointment, failure, pessimism and regret. The figure has its back turned on two upright cups that represent opportunities and potential.
Because the figure is so transfixed on the overturned cups, it is also missing the bridge behind him/her that would lead to a safe place across a river.
Time to look at the upright cups
I left the job I thought I would hold until retirement (or at least for quite a few more years) at the end of January.
Despite the fact that the new job I was going to take was with people who appreciate me as a person and as a professional, is a definite jump up in title and responsibilities, and pays more, I could not take my eyes (and heart) off of the overturned cups of my departure.
The day came, however, when the tears had been shed, the goodbyes had been said and the flip switched by IT that had been my digital umbilical cord to my company email, Slack and other forms of communication.
Finally, I turned around fully to look at the upright cups.
And you know what? There’s something of value in those cups too.
And out of the corner of my eye, I can see a path that leads to a bridge and other opportunities.
It’s also time to play
The other cards my friend drew “point to you taking everything too seriously,” she said. They symbolize rebirth and the idea that laughter is a central key to life. She probably isn’t wrong. My sense of obligation to everyone in my life runs deep, and I’ve rarely let myself relax about financial issues and various areas in life where I didn’t feel I measured up.
In part, the reason it was so hard to turn away from the overturned cups is that I felt a sense of competence in that job that I never felt anywhere else. I was far from perfect, but I never wondered if I could help a business or an individual use words more effectively. As I told my former colleagues, I woke up every day excited to start work, and that had never happened before.
We do ourselves a disservice when we stare too long and hard on the things that haven’t worked out in our lives the way we thought they would.
Many people I know and trust have given me the feedback that there can be joy in turning away from the overturned cups. The cards didn’t necessarily lend insight I couldn’t have found through other sources, but the visual of the figure suspended between the past and the future is a potent one for me.
The idea of the cups also reminds me that I need to be sensitive to others in my life who are staring just as hard at their own overturned cups. Often, these are people in whom I see so much strength, so many unique talents, such promise.
Perhaps the best gift I can give them is a safe place to consider the option of turning toward the standing cups.
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.