Tarot Cards, Feelings, Prayers, and a Poem

My birthday was on Tuesday of this week, and I spent a lot of time thinking about astrology and symbolism last week. With the sun conjoining Mars in my sign last Sunday, and a new moon on my birthday, this is an auspicious time for setting intentions. I thought about my life and my hopes and dreams and created a list of focus areas on Sunday, and then picked 5 to carry forward into the year to come.

I’ve also been using tarot cards as a tool for focus and intentionality for a couple of months now. On Sunday night, before bed, I meditate for a few minutes to calm myself and then draw 3 tarot cards. I write the cards down in a journal I keep for that purpose, and journal a little about what they mean to me. The next day, I read my horoscope on Chani Nicholas’s site, see where it connects to the cards I drew, and make a note in my planner of where to focus my energy and emotion for the week.

Many people see this kind of thing as incompatible with logic or religion: on one hand, there is little scientific support for horoscopes or tarot (though meditation is beneficial), and on the other, many mainstream religions call this witchcraft or idolatry. I am Jewish and agnostic, but for me the practice is not a wrong one. It is a tool for being intentional — and it also brings me comfort. I’ve been both scared and awed by the idea that there isn’t a guiding power in the universe, but lately that’s been much more scary. How do we reconcile the hardship of life if it means that incidents like Wednesday’s terrorist shooting in South Carolina are truly nothing more than random?

This week, I drew the 10 of Pentacles, the King of Swords, and the Lovers. The first speaks to feeling good and having success; the second to tempering emotion and advocating for oneself; and the last speaks to partnerships, choices, and joy. The Lovers is also tied to the Gemini sign, which I found interesting and a little spooky. My horoscope, meanwhile, spoke to trusting in myself and being faithful to my dreams. With both of those in mind, I reviewed my last month of journal entries, and on my birthday set the following intentions:

  • seek clarity on my desires — to know myself and what I want for myself
  • remember the many people who love me — I am not alone
  • be authentic with those I love — allow others to help when I need, let them see my pain and joy
  • love my body & nourish my spirit — I am worthy of the love I receive, as anyone is
  • promote myself with courage & pride — let people recognize my work and celebrate me

I had a lovely birthday, and an odd, cranky sort of day that derailed when I heard about the terrorist attack on an historical Black church in South Carolina. I’ve written in the past about how strongly I am affected both emotionally and bodily by news of this kind. It hurts me physically, with tightness in my chest and throat, headaches, fatigue, and more. With this being my chosen path, I’m struggling to build self-care into my work going forward. (I may have mentioned that once or twice as well…)

I’m working to disrupt my tendency to respond to trauma with frenzied action — though I did stay up late Wednesday night to launch pre-sales of my press’s second book, which will raise funds for organizations doing social justice work. In any case, through the hurt I’m trying to hold onto hope and gratitude where I can. In that spirit, I share a poem that was included in my book, Fallen/Forever Rising, and served as part of the inspiration for the book’s title.

Forever Rising

Work-weary women stand
in the doorways of sleeping children’s
bedrooms        watching
smiles faint on their lips
pride-full and wondering
I made this
with my bare hands
cradled this life into being
ain’t that a hell of a thing?

And though we slept
Mama taught us well
single women working for our
best possible future        always
looking to tomorrow
where there may yet be nourishment
bread for hungry mouths
books for hungry minds
labour transformed by love
to sustain life.

We came up    protected by ancestors
these warrior women’s work & sacrifice
paved our way towards freedom
but we too will come to a place
where we must take up
this precious mantle
the latest generation
preparing to push the next
towards the mountaintop.



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