Five of Swords

The Five of Swords Take on Achieving Goals

Today, I did a new moon tarot spread ritual. Being an Aries ♈︎ new moon, the first zodiac in the cycle with a new beginning theme attached to it, I did the spread focusing on the goals I set for myself this year. The last card on the spread was the “message from the Universe“, and I got the Five of Swords.

Five of Swords is about:

conflict resulting in winning but not really (winning at all costs) or being defeated.

Neither is a message I expected to get when asking about achieving my goals.

The card I pulled was from the Tarot of The Divine deck by Yoshi Yoshitani (yep, I finally got the deck after waiting for more than six months). Here, the card shows Anubis, the Egyptian god of the afterlife, holding five scythes while the fertility Goddess Isis is mourning near his feet.

Btw, I feel like it’s worth mentioning that looking at the card only and associating it with The Five of Swords‘ traditional meaning, one might interpret it as Anubis has defeated Iris in the duel. That’s not the case. In the Egyptian mythology, Anubis restored Iris’s husband, Orisis’s, chopped dead body parts, turning him into the first mummy. Therefore, Anubis is more of an ally instead of an opponent. It flipped Five of Swords’ classic deception, which is traditionally drawn as two opposing sides, one side winning and causing a grievance to the other side. Because of this and many other distorted links between the image on the cards and the mythologies behind each of them, I am not sure whether I want to celebrate this deck as the culture-themed tarot deck that I have been waiting for all my tarot-practicing life.

Five of Swords Tarot

Anyway, back to the Five of Swords and my achievement-focused Aries ♈︎ new moon tarot spread. After some mulling-over, I remembered a story from the mega-inspiring book that I read years ago: Happier by Tal Ben Shahar. He started the book with a story of being disappointed after winning a race he put so much effort into because he thought it would make him happy (the classic: I will be happy when *insert future achievements here*), but it didn’t, because achieving goals doesn’t equal being happy/happier.

I guess the Universe is trying to tell me the same thing:

Achieving all my 2021 goals won’t bring me happiness.

Both might work parallelly and possibly interlinked, but I’d be a fool to see them as the same things. This, though I don’t like to admit, is a good reminder for a goal-hungry Virgo like myself.

Now, how do I cultivate happiness, which is the ultimate goal?

Seven of Swords Fifth Spirit Tarot

Strategizing With The Seven of Swords

During a recent tarot reading, the Seven of Swords kept appearing. And every time it did, I sucked my breath grudgingly. As you might have noticed, I had never written about it before because, well, I am kind anxious around it.

Unlike other cards that I am not a fan of, because either I don’t have much understanding of (Temperance) or just not that into (Queen of Pentacles), I am all too familiar with the Seven of Swords.

Especially the young me.

As a teenager living under a strict roof of my traditional Indian parents, I have called upon and emulated the Seven of Swords energy plenty of time. Tricking, not telling the whole truth or just plain lying to manipulating ━ I have done it all ━ just to have a chance of a normal teenager life; like eating pizza with friends, not coming straight home after school or going to a friend’s house over the weekend.

Learning the Seven of Swords as a tarot-loving adult unwillingly brought back all those childhood memories ━ or traumas, depends on how I feel like framing it. Either way, it wasn’t fun; hence I avoid hanging-out with the Seven of Swords.

Back to the reading, I was expecting advice along the “beware of trickers and manipulations” line, but the reader kept saying “strategize” whenever the Seven of Swords popped up.

At the end of the session, I asked why, and she said:

“Because it asks you to strategize. You might have the tools, but you need to know how to use it for your advantage to achieve what you want — kind of like The Magician.”

Seven of Swords is the strategy card

Before then, I had never seen the Seven of Swords in a positive light. Strategize doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Maybe I can work with it to slowly rewrite my childhood stories.

The Nine of Swords Depression Moon Void Tarot

The Depressing Nine of Swords

I pulled Nine of Swords from the Moon Void Tarot deck today on my last working day of 2020.

Though it might be unusual to pull the gloomiest card on the tarot deck a couple of days before Christmas, I wasn’t surprised at all. I have anticipated my workday would be hell, and it was. Alas, it’s done now, and I don’t even want to think let alone elaborate about it anymore.

Let’s talk about the Nine of Swords itself. A card that dominated the year 2020 collectively ━ at least for most of us ━ included me during the large-part of #isolife.

The Nine of Swords is a card of sadness, depression, despair, helplessness, and inability to escape reality.

Whenever I pull the Nine of Swords, especially as a stand-alone card say as a card to describe my day, I feel like the air around me has been sucked and making me unable to breathe normally.

As I shared here before that I am not deterred when I pulled The Moon, The Death even The Tower card but Nine of Swords always want me to shove the card back into the deck, take a nap to restart my day and redo the reading.

There is no two-way about it, the Nine of Swords put a fear in me.

Aside to the depressive general interpretation of the card above, the image of it is also unpleasant.

The traditional Rider Waite Smith tarot deck depicts the Nine of Swords as a girl crying alone in her bedroom. Eek!

Also, I don’t particularly appreciate that on the most tarot deck I have seen, the Nine of Swords, if it has a person on it, is usually shown as a woman instead of a man. As if depression, crying and showing vulnerable emotions are more of a woman thing. It’s not. It’s universal. Let’s change the narrative!

Yes, I am sure the Nine of Swords also has some redeemable qualities about it and like all the card in the tarot deck, is here to guide and or teach us something. Maybe I can start a quest on Nine of Swords. An in-depth study on it so I can understand better and learn from it. But for now, I am just glad this card comes to me very rarely, and if it’s a stand-alone or where I wouldn’t want it to be the likely outcome or solution, I usually pull a clarifying card to ease up the pain of the many, MANY, swords.

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.

Five of Wands

The Unwelcomed Five of Wands

I cringed when I pulled for today’s daily tarot reading: Five of Wands. Fives have never been a welcomed guest in my metaphorical tarot and actual home.

The Spacious Taro deck guide book says:

Hassle and conflict. All sort of petty thing is conspiring to irritate you. Things don’t go your way.

Ugh. A difficult card.

I didn’t expect this energy, especially not on a Friday, when I plan to clock out early to have wine have zoom self-development heart to heart while painting session with Jik.

I went through my schedule for the day.

I have seven meetings which seem excessive on a Friday, I know. Maybe some parts of it could go wrong? I can’t imagine fighting with Fafa today. The man has a busy day himself, and he will be out with his friends later today.

I wonder what the card is trying to tell me?

What is the conflict will be about, or who is it with?

I need a clarifying card.

So I pulled another tarot card- The Three of Cups – Social circle. Does it mean it will be an argument with Jik? NO! It can’t be a row with Jik as well, as I will already be boozed up by then.

The guide book continued with:

How are you going to handle this vibe? Even if you can control the external circumstances, you do have to say over your internal reactions.

Maybe it is going to be a very drunken night?

The Self Doubting Devil

When I drew The Devil card this morning, I was like whaaa??!

I wondered whether I jinxed my tarot reading by cutting or “modifying” it because I can’t relate to this card at all. Or maybe I didn’t want to!

I reviewed at the image: A couple getting caught having sex. If we really want to stretch it, maybe it’s about me?

feeling guilty doing something I shouldn’t be doing?

I drew clarifying cards from my super cute Lenormand deck: Child and Fish.

With that I went to work. My work day had been so hectic that I didn’t have time to mull over these card until tonight.

Only when I started journaling about these cards, it hit me. The Devil in tarot means:

Being prisoned by my own self-limiting beliefs.

Work came into my mind immediately. How the pending of my Permanent Resident application outcome has been holding me back to find another job. I then went ahead and checked my EOI score. 70 points! That’s enough for the application.

A self-doubt/limiting belief is broken.

It also reminded me of being a slave of my tendency of being a spendthrift. That I shall put a stop on it with self-control and discipline.

The Devil is the greatest level of manifestation because it’s ruled by the most grounding zodiac, Capricorn. It’s about challenge, control, power, making choices and enjoyment. The Devil can be seen as the schoolmaster who gives us an exam. It’s up to us to pass it or not. Other keywords include: fear, sex, passion, taboo, impulse, material success, (unhealthy) attachments, consequences, choices.

Mental Health Day Off

It’s 1 AM now, officially the beginning of the second work week and I am not looking forward to it.

I wish for: a 36 hour day with 8 hours work a day (not sure I am going to agree with this tomorrow, when sitting in my cubicle, wishing for 15.09 to turn to 17.29 in a blink), for a better office neighborhood, for more self-discipline, for bigger paychecks, for funkier colleagues, planned and prepared week meals, for a quick easy fix for nagging errands, I can meet my parents anytime I want, for occasional silence, for creative juices. I wish for wittiness, wish for wardrobe manager, for better time management, for an updated CV, for smooth skin, for more positive experiences.

I wish for one more of mental health day off“, I told Fafa. “What would you do?” he asked.

I would read, go to the library, write, journal, pray, organize, prepare, buy groceries, cook broccoli, hang my clothes, meet my friends, swim for a while, update my CV, clean, play with the chicks, rabbit and a little chicken.

This Sunday wasn’t enough for me. I wish for optimal weekends, not the repetition of doing nothing, including going to the mall again and again. And feeling low at the end of it.

I want days filled with three things that make me happy, as suggested by Yoko Ono. I wonder what kind of things she has done to make her happy?

Anyways, I am really contemplating taking a mental health day tomorrow. It will be good for me.

Work work work. It has been two weeks since I experienced an evening outside. Year-end closing gets our full attention.

9 AM to 9 PM work seemed like too much to ask, instead we reach home close to midnight these days.

I see either fresh, but tight or loose but tired faces of my teammates.