tarot

Seven of Cups

download (1)Ain’t no question if I want it, I need it
I can feel it slowly drifting away from me
I’m on the edge, so why you playing? I’m saying
I will never ever let you live this down, down, down

Not for nothing I’ve foreseen it, I dream it
I can feel it slowly drifting away from me
No more chances if you blow this, you bogus
I will never ever let you live this down, down, down
-“Gorgeous,” Kanye West feat. Kid Cudi, Raekwon

You can build yourself everything you want, in your mind. You can have the cars, the status, the money, the happy ending, the new beginning. You can dream yourself anything and everything you ever wanted, and I know it seems as bright and as real as the sun in the sky but it’s dreams, it’s just dreams. Turn your cup upside down and nothing pours out. Dreams can only sustain you for so long, and if you let them they’ll eat you alive.

The Seven of Cups is a warning. I don’t want to tell you not to dream – Christ, I would never tell you that, I never want to tell anyone that. But the Seven of Cups is an indication that you’re getting carried away with it. The Seven of Cups is a sign that you need to try looking for places in your life where you can start to make those dreams real. At a certain points, dreams can become a refuge, a retreat – an excuse not to move. Ask yourself what is stopping you – what is it that is preventing you from making these dreams a reality? The Seven of Cups is an indicator that you are being sidetracked. Figure out which of your dreams are real, and which are distractions – illusions.

I been thinking about the nights
And the dangerous tricks
People play on the eyes of the innocent
-“Illusion,” One Direction

It is important that you focus, now, when you see this card. Seven cups is a lot, okay, and each of your cups is full. This can be paralyzing, and it’s the reason that this card is the card of unfulfilled wishing. If you can’t focus on one cup you’re going to spill them all. Which of these dreams are deserving of your time and your energy, your pure focused effort? Which are smoke and mirrors? Think now about what you are working toward in your life, what efforts your current situation will benefit from. A lot of dreaming is escapism, which is extraordinarily beneficial – I am not at all knocking escapism here. But if you don’t know what you are working for in your real, tangible life, you run the risk of trying to bring your more impractical dreams to life and failing.

Someone once told me that the scariest thing in the world is having all of your dreams come true. He was my eleventh-grade English teacher and he was, generally speaking, a very strange dude, but he wasn’t wrong about this. Not every cup holds something good. This card is a wish card, and this is your monkey’s-paw reminder: be careful what you wish for. The Seven of Cups is a sign that you need to be thinking through your desires, making sure that they’re as good an idea as they seem at the outset. A lot of the danger in wishing and dreaming comes from distraction, from following bad ideas down the rabbit hole, and there is no harm at all in examining what you want a little more closely.

Let’s pretend we’re eight years old playing hookey
I’ll draw on the wall and you can play UFC rookie
Then we’ll grow up
Take our clothes off
And you remind me that I wanted you to kiss me when we find some time alone
And then we can do anything we want
Anything We Want,” Fiona Apple

Knowing concretely what you want is the first step to being able to get it. There is so much good that comes from dreams, and from dreaming, but a lot of that is the drive to make those dreams a reality. The Seven of Cups wants you to examine your dreams, to understand them, to make sure that they’re good for you. It wants you to use them as blueprints, as road maps, as directions toward the dreams of the future. The Seven of Cups doesn’t want you not to dream – far from it. It wants you to dream in such a way that everything you dream can be yours.

King of Wands

downloadI know exactly what I want and who I want to be
I know exactly why I walk and talk like a machine
I’m now becoming my own self-fulfilled prophecy
-“Oh No!,” Marina and the Diamonds

An arrow flies straight and true and deadly when it’s fired by someone hungry. Killing to eat is a way of life, and I mean that in a literal and a metaphorical sense. There is no shame in hunger, in the bare open want that you feel, that grasping driving need. Hunger has many forms, and many names, and your arrows are limitless. They will travel miles for you, over time and space, and they will strike any target you fix yourself on.

The King of Wands is a motherfucking go-getter. He is on a mission and he is about his business. Wands are primarily a fire suit and this card is a blazing, flaring comet. Fake it ‘til you make it is the phrase here, and there is no card more suited for it. The King of Wands asks one thing from you: set your goals. Know what you want and pour yourself into it. It wants pure, clear objectives to focus that fire energy on. It demands intent and vision; it is very much a long-term card. For this reason, it’s good to see the King of Wands when you’re facing trouble – know that any current hardships are short-term, and know that you have the drive to move through them. The King of Wands thrives on problem-solving, and his appearance means you will have the opportunity to do so as well. Fix your eyes on the horizon and don’t lose sight of what you want.

The sun has gone down and the moon has come up
And long ago somebody left with the cup
But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns
-“The Distance,” Cake

The King of Wands’ strongest trait is not goal-setting, but follow-through. Anyone can set a goal: the King of Wands carries it out. This card is telling you that there is an opportunity presenting itself in your life – you can take it, but you have to see it all the way through. Knowing where you want to go is only half the fight – you have to keep the ship on course through all kinds of weather. When the King of Wands shows up, it’s asking you if you are lacking follow-through in your life. Keep track of your goals, and know them intimately, but more than that be aware of your progress toward them. It’s not enough to simply know what you want – you have to be actively moving toward it.

One-track mind, one-track heart
If I fail I’ll fall apart
Maybe it is all a test
‘Cause I feel like I’m the worst, so I always act like I’m the best
“Oh No!,” Marina and the Diamonds

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you, don’t you
Don’t you
-“You’re So Vain,” Carly Simon

The downside of being really, really good at accomplishing what you want is that your constant success and awesomeness can go to your head. I mean this in the best way, in total seriousness – the King of Wands is a very successful and auspicious card, and it generally means very good things. But it is worth it, when you see it, to ask yourself whether or not you’re being as humble as you can be, and whether you’re being too aggressive in your current pursuits. Fake it ‘til you make it is all well and good, but don’t fake yourself into feeling like you’re the only one who knows to achieve something. It’s not all about you – don’t let your drive for success cloud your vision, and don’t let your achievements take your humility. A pure focus on your goals will bring you what you want, but make sure the cost is worth the reward.

String your bow, now, and think about your target. Think about what you want, and why you want it, and how you are going to get it. Remember – others can help you. Remember – success is not inevitable, and killing yourself to get it helps no one. Set your goals with a clear mind; examine them honestly. Stay hungry.

O. The Fool

Hello! Welcome to the witchsong tarot column. My name is Aly, and I am not a professional.

This column will run weekly and sometimes twice-weekly, highlighting one card per post. My goal here is not to do tarot readings for you, or to teach you the mechanics of tarot reading, but to familiarize you with the cards in a way that is hopefully more grounded and meaningful to you than just memorizing things. To that end, I’ll be selecting songs for each card as a way to personify them to you, the reader, and to help you remember the cards’ meanings when doing your own readings. Knowing the cards more personally was, for me, a huge step forward in my tarot practices. Having something to associate the cards with – in this case, some songs that you’ll hopefully enjoy – makes the process of reading a lot more fluid and intuitive, which often leads to more focused and productive readings.

Again, I just want to reiterate – not a professional! What I’m doing here is presenting my own understanding of the cards, focused through the lens of (mostly pop) music. If this isn’t the mnemonic for you, that is fine, and if the cards speak differently to you, that’s fine too. This is only one way of many that you can use to get closer to the cards; I just hope it’s one that works for you. So! Without further ado, here is the beginning of our journey together.


 

RWS_Tarot_00_Fool

You are standing at the edge of a great precipice. You are standing on a low plain, thunder rolling in the distance. You are standing in the middle of an empty road and the world stretches infinite around you. Close your eyes and breathe in, now, in this moment, this moment before, this moment that is just another moment but that is also the beginning of everything. Don’t be afraid.

Walkin’ through the heavy light
The streets are empty and you don’t feel right

You didn’t wanna let yourself down, so don’t be scared to get out
There’s a thousand voices saying
The time is now
-“The Great Unknown,” Jukebox the Ghost

The Fool is, most simply, a card of beginnings. It is an answer to a question you have not yet asked, but it is also a question in itself. The time is now; are you ready?

When the Fool shows up in your readings, it’s letting you know that you are at a juncture in your life that requires initiative, and a decision – the start of a journey is upon you. The Fool is the card of potential, waiting to be realized. When you see it, you have to ask yourself if you are ready to walk forward into whatever is waiting for you, out there in the great unknown. A lot of times, you might not be – one of my favorite depictions of the Fool is as a baby bird, which I find apt. Think about that tiny bird; how unsure, how small and fragile! But – remember – how full of potential. Seeing the Fool should remind you that you are going somewhere, that incredible things beyond your knowledge are awaiting your discovery. That baby bird will spread its wings and own the sky.

There is always the temptation to say that “the journey begins with a single step,” or some iteration of that tired, tired sentiment. It’s true – you literally have to take one step – but like, come on. Anyone who has ever embarked on anything new knows that it’s not one step but a series of steps, sometimes in the face of insurmountable odds, sometimes through sleet and uphill and in dark cold nights. The baby bird can leap and fly, and then its life will change forever, and it will persist onward. And its life will keep on happening, and that is the journey. Not the initial leap, but all the flight that follows.

We’re young and we’re reckless
We’ll take this way too far
It’ll leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar
-“Blank Space,” Taylor Swift

The Fool presents a warning, too, and it’s one that you should make note of every time you see it. A tarot card’s secondary, often darker qualities technically come into play when the card makes its appearance reversed (upside down), but it is always helpful during readings to keep this darkness in mind no matter how the card presents. Each of these cards has all of its qualities inherent in it, and although different contexts will elicit different meanings, keep in mind that lightness and darkness are two halves of one whole.

In darkness, the Fool stands alone. Remember: spontaneity is not the same thing as recklessness. Remember: unpredictability is productive only to a point. The Fool may be asking you to look for the consequences of any actions you’re considering taking – where is your journey leading you? The danger lies in plunging headlong down the road, over that cliff. There is no journey that you should embark on without regard for the consequences or for others around you. Don’t leap before you look, before considering where you will land. The Fool’s naiveté is something you must guard against – those opportunities that seem too good to be true, that ex-partner that really seems to have changed – remember to trust your instincts. The Fool is the card of beginnings, of adventure, this is true, but look back – he has packed supplies for his adventure. Don’t leave yourself behind.

Where, where do we go?
Where the, where the wind blows
We’re the youth on our own
Waiting for our call
Where, where do we go?
Where the, where the wind blows

-“No Mythologies to Follow,” MØ

So, the Fool is the beginning of a journey. It is possibility, it’s new experiences, it’s the unpredictable. Will you fly? Will you fall? You have to trust yourself enough to acknowledge what the Fool is asking you, and you have to be honest enough with yourself to answer. When you are prepared, when the time for you to take that flight is right, there will be something for you to land on – a person, a place – something will catch you. Be brave, and know that you have all the tools you need to make this journey safely, with purpose and clarity. There’s something waiting for you in the great unknown.