The Nine of Swords The Spacious Tarot Black and White Depression

Reading Redo

Tarot people, have you ever gone:

“Nope. Not this card. Not today. Let’s redo the reading.”

I am usually not a redo kind of reader. Nor do I ask the tarot the same question over and over again, expecting a different answer without taking a break and space for things to change or for myself to be able to see it from a different perspective.

I try to find the meaning behind each card that I pull, weaving a story from the image to answer the question that I posed to it. I believe stretching behind the traditional meanings of the card will bring nuance and add depth to my tarot learning. Even if it’s a bad card, I think it might be telling me something good for me to know.

But today, I pulled a card and felt an unexplained lousy feeling when I saw it. So, I pulled a clarifying card just to see what it is that I need to look out for. The clarifying card, although as a stand-alone card, represent celebration when I read it together with the first card, I could only think of one thing.

A triggering memory from the past that I prefer to leave behind. Actually, something I genuinely thought I have left behind.

Evidently not.

I tried to push my knee-jerk interpretation aside and think of other possibilities these cards might be telling me. I even tried to interpret it purely based on the images, but I couldn’t shake the first thought that came into my mind.

It lingered around, even after I showered and started work.

This was not how I planned to spend my whole day. I wasn’t going to be triggered by my own tarot deck.

All triggers need to be handled, minimized and weed-out from my life.

So, I took some deep breaths, started shuffling the deck and asked it to show me a different card because I didn’t want to invite that particular energy into my life ever again. That it was no longer my reality; therefore, it can’t exist in my Universe.

A card flew out.

The Nine of Pentacles.

Thank you, deck. Let’s call it a day.

Ten of Wands Moon Void Tarot Black and White Tarot Run

Ten of Wands My Old Friend

It has been my morning routine to pull a tarot card for the day.

This morning, it was the Ten of Wands. I half-expected to pull either this card or the Eight of Pentacles as I had another busy day ahead. But unlike yesterday, where my day was equivalent to the Ten of Swords energy (I didn’t draw the card, it was too chaotic of a day to even connect with the deck), today I was prepared.

I had written down the three most-important-things to tackle at work. I have stocked enough snacks to go through the four meetings and later to fuel me through the overtime. I even prepared a question to ask Clarissa Goenawan, the author of Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, who was going to have a zoom author meet and greet later today. At the same time, I have deferred some of my non-urgent tasks to next week, reducing the tasks on my Todoist app to the lucky number thirteen. And by the time I write this here, I have ticked off running, Indonesian groceries shopping, laundry and some other things from the list, leaving only five more things to either do tonight or to be rescheduled to tomorrow. and I am okay with both.

Ten of Wands is not a delightful card. In the reading, for a yes-no question, this card is the unwanted adjective to the answer. The:

“…but it’s going to be a hard work…”

or another variation of it, crowning it as the “long-sigh” card.

Even when you see the artwork depicting Ten of Wands in the Rider Waite Smith tarot deck, you can almost expect the man to release a long-sigh once he reaches his destination and able to put the ten of wands he has been carrying (albeit in a weird position). 

I also let out a long sigh when I saw the Ten of Wands today, but mine was followed by:

“Hello there, old friend!”

As a Virgo sun and rising, I have fully embraced the energy of the Ten of Wands in my life, claiming it as a part of my character. My shadow show self. I knew all I needed to do was to put my warrior queen headband and go through my to-do list.

30 going on 365

I started this blog only last month (the posts in the archive are loaded from various old blogs and written journal entries). The same time during the same month, I vowed to do daily writing. Committing to doing it at least for a month first. Privately reminding myself that if I fail to write every day about anything and everything I want for a month; I am not allowed to claim writing is my passion.

Harsh, I know.

But I have been mopping around instead of writing for the most part of this year (blaming it on Covid), that I felt a little bit of writing-self-discipline was required.

Today, WordPress reminded me that I am on my 40-day writing streak. I have passed the measly goal I set for myself early. By my own account, I am now allowed to call myself a writer. Woohoo!!

Now, my goal-oriented brain is taunting me with:

You did it for a month, can you do it for a year?

A tall order, I know.

Especially since I am hoping the next 300-ish days will be less grim than the past 300-ish days. Where I dream of sitting in my office cubicle, travelling to Fiji, celebrating my parents’ birthdays together with them and hiking Kumano Kodo trails. Even now, before doing any of it, all those things seem more important than committing to daily writing for a year. Or is it? I don’t have the answer yet.

What I know for now is that daily writing has been an anchor to my mental health. It has kept me sane and centered. And I can genuinely say that I am happier now compared to my pre-daily writing days. And I do wonder if it makes me feel this way only after doing it for more than a month, how will I feel in a year time if I commit to it.

Alas, here is me, committing to finishing my daily writing journey from 30 days to 365 days, starting from today (which, to my woo-woo side delight, is the 11th of the 11th), the start of the holiday season, mid of NaMeWriMo and end of lock-down.

Tower Moments

Of all the “bad cards” in tarot, the Tower is something I am comfortable with. Maybe even a little too comfortable.

The 16th card from the Major Arcana, the Tower is traditionally seen as the representation of disaster, sudden change, significant disruption and chaos.

Those are enough reasons for people to not want to see it in a reading.

It makes sense. We, human beings, tend to seek stability in our lives. I am no different. As I write this on top of my picnic rug, in the park soaking the sun, eating the cheese and getting a bit buzzed from the wine, I too don’t wish for the rug to be pulled from under my feet. Both metaphorically and literally.

But it didn’t start this way for me.

I came from a somewhat traditional Indian family. I say somewhat because my parents are smart people with kind hearts who want nothing but, what they think, as the best for their daughter. But at the same time, they are bogged down by society and at times dated and jaded traditions. Growing up, it had always been a constant struggle between following the social values and just being a child, and later, a teenager. For example, they would let me wear whatever I wanted, which was more than most Indian girls growing up in a traditional family could ask for. But at the same time, I wasn’t allowed to date.

I did both. With that, I turned into the rebel of the family and started what I called as my Tower moments.

My Tower moments started when I, as a teenager, laughed on the face of the priest who told Amma that he could magically make me stop rebelling. A major tower moment was when I cancelled my wedding a couple of weeks before the day. Another one, when I moved to Singapore without a job and proceeded to live there for almost a decade before uprooting the somewhat comfortable life I had built for myself to go back home because I wanted to heal my relationship with my parents. Again without a job. I also summoned The Tower when I migrated to Melbourne, and again when I married someone from a different background in Bali. This time without any priest.

The Tower is a shadow self that I have accepted. It taught me to be calm throughout chaotic periods in my life. From the period when my dad stopped talking to me to being bullied; even when I was made redundant. I went through these with a zen-ish outlook.

And I know I can go through similar shit moments in the future because I had deliberately chosen to walk through worse things, either because it aligned with my values or to chase my dreams.

I also learned that even though I always have plans for my life (Virgo baby!), sometimes the Universe grants my wishes in different ways. And based on my past experiences, it could just be in the Tower mode.

It’s good to remember that fundamentally the Tower is about radical changes. A reminder to:

“Be positive, it is time to replace the old foundations of the past with something that is more genuine and will serve better in what is to come”

Labyrinthos.


Not gonna lie, knowing that — if tomorrow, something happens and I have to uproot my life yet again — I can do it, feels pretty empowering. And I blame my semi-traditional Indian parents for it. They shouldn’t have instilled the value of resilience in the young rebellious me.

Tarot A Memoir

It took me the whole week to decide on the theme of the memoir I am writing for NaMeWriMo. I toyed with the ideas between Covid Diary and Tarot. Though Covid Diary would be more of a timely topic, I am not ready to write it yet. The past few months have been a messy period for me emotionally, and I need to untangle those feelings in a personal journal first before cooking it into a memoir.

So tarot it is.

Why Tarot Memoir?

Because I want to learn about tarot.

I remember a conversation between the Russian photography teacher and me in Federation Square Beer Deluxe years ago. He asked me what my biggest passion in life was. I told him it has always been writing. Then he gave me a piece of advice that I still hold very highly:

“Take your photos from a writer’s perspective. Seek the story behind your photo and write your stories with your photos”.

– Al.

And I am going to apply the same principle to my tarot learning journey. I want to learn and get better at it by writing stories, my memoir, with those cards.

I have been doing it sporadically anyway (either on the tarot journal or here), might as well try to write it with a deadline. All 78 cards within this month. Whether I will succeed in doing so or not, that will be a problem for future me to handle. For now, it feels like the right thing to do. And more than that, I feel good about it.

Ps. I wonder whether writing NaMeWriMo centering on tarot is a good enough excuse to get another deck in the name of furthering my education? I have been eyeing the Moon Void Tarot deck by Stefanie Caponi for some time now.

Brewing The Two of Wands

It was still pitch black dark outside. I had been up for some time. Unable to go back to sleep. This time it wasn’t because I was sick or stressed out. After all, I just had a long weekend. My mind had been filled with random ideas.

Ideas for the day (I should run first before attending my first 9 AM meeting), for the week, month and the end of the year. Faster than those ideas were the ideas on what to write for my NaMeWriMo drafts.

I tried to remember some of these ideas while dismissing the others because the last thing I needed on this garbage of a year is feeling burnt out. Especially, this close to the holiday season. After some more time passed, and it was clear to me that I would not go back to sleep, I sneaked out to the living room.

Once outside, I reached out to my trusty tarot deck — waiting for me on the bookshelf — took a few deep breaths and pulled out a card.

Two of Wands

On point.

For me, two of Wands (Aries) carries the energy of contemplation.

The tea-brewing of ideas. I’d need to let it steep first, witness the colour change adding flavours thanks to the heat before sipping it.

All these metaphorical ideas brewing made me crave for an actual hot cup of tea. A perfect company for the cold Melbourne morning (mornings in Melbourne generally tend to be on the cold side no matter what time of the year it may be). On this morning it was Singapore Breakfast tea from T2Tea.

While waiting for my tea, I rummaged through my witchy-drawer where I kept the rest of my tarot decks. I pulled out the Two of Wands from The Light Seer Tarot and This Might Hurt tarot decks to company the first Two of Wands from The Spacious Tarot deck. The card from Rider Waite Smith tarot deck was not required as I have memorized the traditional image.

A man, wearing a red robe, holding a globe in his hand, standing on the fortress, overlooking the sea with two wands standing in between him.

It’s not too different from the This Might Hurt deck, which has my favourite depiction of the Two of Wands. On it, a girl is sitting on her car front, reading the opened map in her hand, there are two different sized wands in between the car.

Though the Two of Wands is often associated with travel (both the globe and the map), today I see it more of the planning stage. The stage of collecting and brewing some of those ideas who came knocking way too early.

I considered waking Fafa up, so he could take a picture of me ‘contemplating’ from the balcony with the sunrise as the background as the image depicted in The Light Seers Tarot deck, but decided to let the man sleep in peace. Also, the sky is too grey to make an Instagram worthy picture.

Instead, I opened the laptop and wrote this in morning silence, while sipping my tea. I must say, among those many 5 AM ideas, writing this experience felt like a good one to follow.

NaMeWriMo

Yesterday, I found out about NaMeWriMo (no, not NaNoWriMo — the Me is for Memoir), and no convincing was needed because I decided on the spot, without much research, that I am going to do it. I am declaring it here so you can hold me accountable for it.

I have done daily writing before—even daily blogging (Blogtember circa 2014). But I have never published a memoir piece every day for a month. I know it’s going to be challenging. The writing and even more so the digging through the memory bank and sorting it through a cohesive thought process parts.

But I also know it’ll be rewarding if I commit to it. And it will support me to progress on my writing journey, which is great. I signed up for Write Your Memoir Month on Creative Non-Fiction to get the daily prompts and some inspo.

I am not sure I will stick with these prompts throughout the month, but hey, it will help direct me if and when I am stuck with memoir writer’s block.

I am very excited about doing this NaMeWriMo for the first time. I feel so grown-up, so writer-ey. Wish me luck!

Fool-ing in The Beginning of The Month

Fittingly I pulled The Fool from The Spacious Tarot deck today as the card of the month. It a simple illustration of a cliff with sunrise in the background, dominated only with three main colors. For me, the card in this deck doesn’t give a choice of who the fool is. It’s the reader (or the readee, I guess, if you are reading for someone else).

This card invites us to step inside it and be the fool who stands on top of the cliff. Ready to embrace the world.

Or in my case, the month — with all the celebrations and challenges waiting for me in the next 30 days. At the same time, reminding me of the side project, I adopted in November – the NaMeWriMo. To focus on it as a part of my fool’s journey.