I’ve been keeping a deck of tarot cards on my bedside table (Aleister Crowley’s Thoth deck, for anyone interested in knowing). It’s been a source of inspiration sometimes, as well as a starting point for much-needed introspection for me. Also, oddly enough, it makes me take the time to pray.
I haven’t been a prayerful person in years, and I’m still trying to work out what prayers are and whom they serve, but it has always been my habit to say some sort of prayer before drawing a card, doing a reading, consulting someone (or something, in this case) for better perspective. It all started when I bought my first deck of tarot cards. I was in middle school, I think, and my mother took me to Seven Stars (back when it was in Harvard Square). After poring over many beautiful decks I chose one that was painted in watercolors, big fat lines and blurred edges. I had three favorites: the Star (a naked woman in a lake, surrounded in varying shades of black and green), the Six of Cups (two chubby-legged children playing with the fairies and rainbows that spilled from golden chalices), and Death (partly because I felt badass to know it wasn’t a negative message, partly because it was a skeleton with a butterfly floating from its pelvis).
In the car, my mother reminded me to put on my seat belt, then asked me to promise her that I would always take a moment to say a prayer before a reading, for the benefit of the seeker, of myself. In deference to God or some other higher power as I dabbled in esotericism. I took this tarot thing very seriously, and I always said a prayer. Something solemn but perfunctory. God, let this go well. Or, God, I don’t mean to offend. Something like that.
The other night I asked the air for advice, for insight, before drawing three cards to see what I needed to know at this stage in my life.
Tonight I held the deck to my heart and thought of all my fellow Kindreds, some whom I know quite well by now and others whose expressions in this project give me a better understanding of who they are and how they work. I wished for you, specific wishes and vague, but always concentrating on you. I drew this card:
I had never seen the Six of Cups reversed before! Upon reading some more about what this means, I learned this card can suggest that one is clinging to one’s past in such a way that you inhibit yourself from experiencing the present and moving into your future.
This particular guide said something that really stood out to me:
“The Six of Cups is a card of nostalgia, childlike love and generosity, and a carefree, naïve outlook on life. Reversed, it suggests that you may have had unrealistically rosy ideas about a particular stage of life, based on your dreams and ideals from when you were younger. For example, you may have always pictured yourself as married with children by 25, only to realise that once you hit 25, you had other goals in mind. Or you may be disappointed that you have reached a particular age but have not fulfilled your childhood dreams just yet.”
When I said it stood out, I mean it sang to me. I keep making fun of the idea that, at age 30, I’m still not an adult. My expectations of myself as a child were so huge that I may never be an adult. And the more I complain about this, the more I realize that most people feel this way, at one time or another. But it’s not that we’re all living in the past, and it’s not that we haven’t matured (do you see how my tarot prayers and uses have changed?) – we just aren’t living the lives we expected. And frankly, who does?
So I ask you all kinds of things: are you living up to your own expectations? What have you wanted for yourself? Has that changed over time? Do you feel like you’re moving forward? How might you be holding yourself back? And if you’d rather this weren’t so introspective, tell me this: what is a grown-up? Who are your favorite grown-ups? Make one up for me.
I say this as a person who just bought a Little Prince sweatshirt, as a person who just caught up with her best friend from elementary school (over drinks!), as a 30-year-old who lives with her father, as the girl who first stood up for herself because she wanted to be Peter Pan in the school play, as the college dropout who is taking an acting class simply because it is impractical. But also as the woman who just bought a juicer, as the woman who is trying to commit more to yoga…
That’s actually all the adult stuff I’ve been up to of late, but you get the idea. But good luck! And let this go well.