Welcome to the second edition of Tarot Odd Couples, where I shuffle and pick two random cards from a tarot deck and discuss how to interpret them together. Also I rant about stuff. And relationships. Yes, all that. ALL THAT IN ONE MAGICAL POST HOW DO I DO IT?
Earnestly, that’s for sure. Let’s go!
I suppose we should touch on the title a bit, but only lightly for now, and I will be getting back to that later. YES, hey, I would not at all blame you if you felt everything was terrible. I mean…according to so very many, we have a crass, unfit, pathological narcissist for a president, half the world wants to kill the other half, and this humidity is doing really terrible things to my hair. There’s more. So much more I could say here. About me, about the world, about you. The many things about my life that Need Improvement. How I know you are probably struggling mightily in one area of your life or another. Maybe a lot of areas of your life. I’m sorry.
But the truth is that I find my own stress really exhausting, mentally, and that is more than just the stuff the stress is about. In fact…it’s exhausting, and queasily so, mostly because it takes me away from the Present Moment, which is always the only thing any one of us ever has at any time. Ever. The lovely innocent present moment, where I am not at all on fire. Not even a little bit.
In the present moment, all of the things I worry about aren’t happening. In the present moment, my home smells like fresh laundry tumbling, my partner in crime is working on his hobby, I just made a really good chicken salad with tarragon and grapes, and I am sitting here, writing to you out there, who really JUST WANTS TO KNOW WHAT THOSE TWO CARDS MEAN TOGETHER OK LADY?
We are gonna get back to that present moment stuff, though, ok? So buckle up, Star Pirate.
But now, the cards.
The Eight of Swords is an interesting card. Looks daunting. Even a bit kinky. Bound woman, blindfolded, surrounded in a little prison of swords. Goodness. How in the world did she get there?
The real question, though, is why is she staying?
All traditional Tarot decks show her bound very loosely. Those ties could nearly be shrugged off. That blindfold is slipping. And I don’t care how sharp those swords are…she could easy squeeze though the spaces in between.
So, the Eight of Swords is about the prisons we create for ourselves. “The Job We Hate, But Know, So We Hate it Comfortably”. “The Stupid Relationship That is Totally Unsatisfying But What’s Out There is So Much Worse, Surely, So Okay, Let’s Watch More Family Guy and Not Have Sex While You Sneak-Flirt Online”. Good times.
The Four of Wands is pretty much the opposite of that. It looks very sweet and straightforward, but it holds secrets. Sweet ones. Tasty ones.
The Four of Wands traditionally means “engagement”…there are woman dancing under a chuppa, and there appears to be a wedding about to happen. It really smacks of happily ever after, and that is true, but here is its tender, surprise chewy center: The card, at its heart, means this: The thing you hope and expect to happen DOES happen, but not only that, it is better than you expect! Whee! IT’S BETTER, BABY.
So what does this mean for you, when these two are together? Especially in relationship? Well….you might be tempted to think that whatever is superpoop about your relationship right now is just going to get magically better and you are getting hitched and it’s off to Vegas. But no. That’s not it. Oh, there is happiness for you, yessiree, but it’s going to take some change on your part.
This card suggests, whether it is work or love or money, that staying where you are right now means no growth, change, or happiness for you. Staying here in your little sword corral does not mean you will get to ride ponies. It means you will be safe, and there and stuck and unhappy and things are pretty grey, and sure, I LOVE Family Guy…the characters are so …um….sure, it’s fine, another episode is great…it’s that.
…and if you let go…you shrug off your bindings and walk away, pretty much immediately something awesome is gonna happen, and it turns out to be much better than you expect. WAY better.
This happened to me this year. In a previous post I wrote that I am not allowed any more “Michaels”. My “ex”, if you can call him that, was the first person I got involved with since my husband died five years ago, and he was a poor choice. I hung on, for a year, liiiiiiiike an idiot, because he was brilliant and funny and interesting and stuff, but in truth, he treated me poorly. Not because he was a bad person, but because he was stressed, emotionally unavailable to me, worried about his career, of an emotionally avoidant attachment style, and other fun stuff. I understand he has a new girlfriend now, and I hope like hell he treats her well. I hope they are happy. I truly do. But for me, it was a year from hell. It was not his most shining moment, and I certainly did not value myself very much at the time. Grief makes for stupid choices, sometimes.
THE SECOND WEEK after breaking up with him (right after my birthday, which was far, far too much for him to deal with, I guess…all those well wishes and dinner plans. I’m very high maintenance.)….the long legs and winning smile of My Sweetheart leaped into my world, holding a fist full of peonies and singing songs by Elbow , and changed it for the better.
Better is an understatement.
Within eight months, we were living together, are extremely, alarmingly happy together, and it’s way, way better than I could have even hoped for. We are just hilariously well suited, and oh my goodness, is he pretty. Prettier than me, that’s for sure. Score.
When I drew these two cards, I knew they were a perfect metaphor for my own love life (hey, I was thinking about my Eric when I drew them!), and knew this combination has genuine meaning for me, personally.
I hugely encourage you to let go of the Monster You Know, if it is genuinely unhappy and only merely safe and known, and take a change on things turning out even better than expected.
Even in a world where an angry cheeto can be president, Good Things can still happen.
Meanwhile, though, how do you cope when everything is crap? How do you deal with your stressful life, when all it does is make you regret the past and fear about the future?
Stop. Stop living in the future, right away. Oh yes, use the brilliant tool that is your brain/mind to make plans, for just as long as it takes to make them, and then set down the Useful Tool that is your brain/mind (You know that your mind is not YOU, I hope. YOU are not all that interior chatter and wierd yelling and singing old jingles and thinking about stuff you did in the third grade. You are just watching that, and sometimes forget you are watching)….and come back to The Present Moment, because it is always, and only, now.
So you come back to the present moment…where you are not on fire. Where there is a likelihood of tea nearby. Where nothing with tentacles is currently coming after you, requiring you to run. If you can stay in this present moment, as much as humanly possible, using Brain to Get Stuff Done and FUTURE PLAN as needed, but only in the way you pick up a hammer and pound a nail, to be set down when finished, rather than running around the house pounding on everything and calling it helpful thinking.
Sure, if you return to the present moment, then yes, you can find peace in your Sword Prison too. You can. Because again, you are not literally on fire. But if you let go of the control of that….you might find the universe has other plans. Better plans, if you trust it.
I am learning how to trust it too. It’s not easy…but I’m working on it. It’s really stressful out there. Right now, though, it’s fresh towels and chicken salad.
11 thoughts on “The Eight of Swords and the Four of Wands: Maybe Everything isn’t Horrible, or, Staying Optimistic in Chaotic Times.”
Great post. I love your writing.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you so very much indeed!
I SO needed this reminder today, Jhone. My manic monkey mind has been in unproductive overdrive lately. I know that clarity comes with stillness, and that stillness happens when I realize I am presently not on fire. Thank you for a fun an inspiring message.
LikeLiked by 2 people
What an incredibly kind thing to say. Thank you. Humans are so well designed to learn from the past and plan for the future that the present moment is pretty much ignored except as a hindrance to getting what we wish for. It’s just a terrible way to treat the only thing we have!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you for sharing this! I can’t wait to learn more through your writing…
LikeLiked by 1 person
I have had my cards read a couple of times at most and though I loved the look of the cards and loved hearing of the interpretations, I never really knew anything about each card. In reading this I am more and more interested in hearing about all of the cards and would love to get a deck for myself to be able to hold them in my hand. This is a whole new realm for me and so much fun. Thank you!!
It is VERY rich…very nuanced. I love them.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I needed this. I drew these cards today and found your post looking for guidance. Thank you for being.
How kind of you to let me know anything I wrote was helpful. I have been working so hard, I have neglected the blog, and need to get on this!
This was epic. Thank you for taking the time to write this from your heart/experience.
LikeLiked by 1 person