Reshuffling my deck
by Jessa Slade on December 28th, 2009

Currently working on: Digging out from under the holidays
Mood: Eager for daylight

I have a friend who’s experienced more than her fair share of life’s hard knocks.   (I’m not sure how much a fair share would be, exactly, but I’m pretty sure she got hosed.)  One of her favorite sayings is “The universe gives you the chance to make the same mistake over and over.  Until you don’t.”

Mean universe.

Oh, I could look at it as tough love, I suppose, one of those “learning moments.”  But sometimes it’s hard to tell what the lesson is.  So at the end of every year, I like to look back, give the universe a long, hard stare, and try to figure out what it was thinking (and what it was trying to make me think about) while it stares back at me.

Because I dabble in the Tarot, I like to use my cards to give some narrative to the year that has passed.  I have a deck based on Greek mythology, because those were some of my favorite stories when I was a kid.  I draw a three-card spread, which is often used in understanding influences at play before taking any particular path, which seems to me useful in looking back at paths chosen.

So what exactly was the universe trying to teach me?  Did I get it?  Can I move on from this lesson to the next?

I pulled Temperance, The Chariot and the Knight of Swords:


Temperance (Iris, goddess of the rainbow): Iris was a kind and merciful goddess who represents the fluid adjustment of feeling and emotion with the ultimate goal of harmony. She was also a message bearer of the gods.

The Chariot (Ares, god of war): With his two horses pulling in opposite directions, Ares represents aggressive instincts guided by the will of consciousness, and suggests conflict and struggle can result in a stronger personality when faced with strength and containment.

Knight of Swords (the Warrior Twins, Castor and Polydeuces, one mortal and one divine): An augury of sudden change and mercurial energy which breaks apart the ordinary patterns of life, often with callous disregard for common sense or kindness.

Oh, I love it when my cards tell me what I already know.  It was a crazy year for me.  (Duh.)  I saw my dream of publication come true when I finally got to hold a printed copy of SEDUCED BY SHADOWS.  At the same time, I suffered through the flailing death throes of my day job.  (Luckily I’m good at imagining the living dead, so I’ve managed to keep my job lumbering along — minus some body parts — in a gruesome caricature of employment.)  I’ve stretched my personal boundaries from painfully introverted bookworm to painfully social bookworm-becoming-butterfly.  I started — and failed at — a weight-lifting regimen.  (Yeah, yeah, I actually started it again tonight; stupid New Years resolutions.) 

Clearly, it’s been a year of more uproar than balance, which is obvious if you weigh the three warrior boys and their three wild horses against the pretty Iris.  Still, I think I did a reasonable job of adjusting on the fly and keeping my feet under me.  So I’ll keep the reminder of steady Iris going forward (kindness, mercy, balance) since I bet when I pull my full Celtic Cross spread for the new year, I think I’ll be seeing more of those conflict cards.

Besides, in the pitcher she carried, Iris also held the waters that filled storm clouds.  She could dump a bucket of cold water on those hot-headed boys at any time — if she decided to stop playing nice.  That’s a good reminder too.

How about you?  Did you come away with a lesson from 2009 you’d like to share?  If you want a three-card draw from my Greek mythology deck, just ask and we’ll see what the cards have to say to you.

8 comments to “Reshuffling my deck”

  1. 1

    I think the biggest thing I learned during the year was to be more proactive in taking care of my health. I have severe RA and I really have to watch myself. Right now I’m battling a killer sore throat trying to avoid the doctor. I’d love you to draw me some cards, but if it’s terrible maybe I don’t want to know.

  2. 2

    Linda, ouch on the arthritis :( The cards that came up for you are: Strength, King of Swords, Queen of Cups. Powerful cards!

    In my deck, Strength is represented by Heracles battling the lion and calls for courage and self-discipline to battle “the beast inside.”

    The King of Swords is Odysseus, who represents intellectual prowess. In terms of the physical body, that seems to scream “see a doctor” :) Odysseus was a man of travails who overcame. He’s one of my favorite characters.

    The Queen of Cups in my deck shows Helen of Troy who represents the activation of feminine principles at work. What a fun contrast with the clever Odysseus.

    I don’t know if those give you images to mediate upon, but they sound like the start to a great romance novel!

    I hope you feel better with the coming of the new year.

  3. 3

    In 2009 I learned that I can talk myself into anything. This is both good and bad. It’s good in that I used this dubious ability to quit smoking. I have been smoke-free for two months now. Unfortunately, it is very easy to talk myself into buying things I really don’t need. Sometimes I have to talk really fast to talk myself out of buying said things. I’m batting about 50%. But, it worked great on the quit smoking thing! I’d love it if you drew me some cards :grin:

  4. 4

    Kermit dancing on the stop smoking, Zita! You can do it!

    Your cards are:
    Three of Pentacles: The Pentacles cards follow the story of Daedalus, who built the Minotaur’s labyrinth. The three hearlds early success in a material endeavor. That must be the end of cigarettes :) Although if the labyrinth is any indication, the nicotine could be a trap, so watch out!

    Three of Wands: The Wands cards show the story of Jason and the Argonauts. The three shows Jason arriving at Iolkos, whee his inheritance was promised. The card represents good foundations of a creative idea or project, but warns of hard work ahead. ‘Cuz, you know, Jason had to go get the golden fleece and what not :)

    Six of Pentacles: Continuing Daedalus’ story, the six tells of a moment when you will be called upon to be generous or to accept generosity.

    I like the minor arcana cards in this deck because the stories are more intricate than the major arcana. And Jason’s story is one of my faves, and not just because the old stop-motion film was amazing fun.

    Hmm, Jason would probably be TOO supportive of your shopping habits, so don’t listen to him too much :lol:

  5. 5

    I think my main lesson is that I’m not 20 anymore . Now if I could just figure out how to incorporate that knowledge into my decision-making process BEFORE I launch myself into one of my grandiose projects…

    I’d love to know what the cards have to say about it all!

    Warmest wishes for a balanced 2010, Jessa.

  6. 6

    I guess what I learned in 2009 was that it’s important to chase after my dreams. I don’t want to look back on my life and wish I’d tried…or taken a chance…or anything. After 16 years of the same job…it feels like now might be the right time to follow a different passion.

    So…wondering what you might draw for that.

    Happy New Year! May it be a blessed one!

  7. 7

    Linda, you might not be 20 any more, but the cards start out with the Fool, who is definitely young at heart!

    The Fool: Represented by the Greek god, Dionysos, striken mad by Hera, gave wine to mankind, generally caused all sorts of mischief :) He blends risk with opportunity.

    The Knight of Cups: A glorious card that shows Perseus, of “Clash of the Titan” fame :) His pursuit of love (although not yet mature) is a spectacular launching card for, say, a romance writer…

    Queen of Swords: A funny card when played with the Knight of Cups, since its character, Atalanta, gained notoriety for challenging her suitors to impossible tasks. Where her idealism becomes perfectionism is problematic.

    Um, yeah, sounds like a writer’s life!

  8. 8

    Laura, you’ve come to the right place for dreams!

    Oh, you pulled one of my most common cards (after the Hanged Man) — the Three of Swords. In my deck, the Swords suite is full of conflict. Which is good in stories, not as much fun in life… except where conflict leads to growth. Still potentially un-fun but at least we get something out of it.

    The Three of Swords, I always groan when I get it because it shows Queen Clytemnestra and her lover slaughtering her husband, thus launching the fraught story of Orestes. The description is: An abcess must break so the body can heal.

    I know; gross! On the plus side, if that was your 2009, you have healing ahead of you.

    Nine of Cups: Shows Psyche and Cupid reunited after Psyche’s many dangerous trials. It’s not a “falling in love” card, but a “love vindicated” card.

    Ace of Swords: As I said, in my deck, the Swords tend to be conflict cards. And the Ace hearlds the beginning of a mental conflict that can change the world. While the thought of conflict makes some people shudder, this is one of my favorite cards because its heroine is Athena, one of my favorite Greek goddesses. As the goddess of both warfare and wisdom (huh? how does THAT work?) I like the way she balances such conflicting principles. Sure, it takes a really big sword, but we can get one of those!

    Plus, the big pointy swords make it easier to pin down our dreams when they’re trying to get away…

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