Have you felt somewhat put upon, of late?
Too many choices — or too few, perhaps? Or, if you have choices, have you felt your view of them obscured by something that, itself, is obscured?
Have you felt alone, isolated by your circumstances, your verve and your enthusiasm sucked out of you?
Have you felt the full weight of a certain obligation bearing down on you?
And, if so, an obligation to what, I ask you?
Just whose journey are you on, here? Or – maybe more accurately – what bad trip are you on?
It’s as if, instead of soaring high above the clouds, this particular protagonist in this particular story has hit the bummer of all bummers. No dancing fairies, no rainbows, no unicorns. Enervation, confusion. Best have a lie-down for a while, eh? Maybe when you wake up that tainted tab will have worn off.
Well, one thing’s for sure: you will be waking up.
Whether you really are where you are right now, though — in this surreal, bizarro story being played out in your solitary confinement — is a matter that’s well worth questioning.
Are you really where you think you are? And are you really powerless to get out?
The left and centre card in today’s reading are the Eight of Swords and the Ten of Wands respectively. Both of them are ‘difficult’ cards inasmuch as they reflect obstacles, one mental and the other creative or energetic.
The Eight of Swords is what happens when you have thought yourself into a standstill. This thinking may either involve a specific thought or thoughts — ones that are old favourites in your repertoire, which rear their heads every now and then, and especially when you finally feel like you’re moving forward. Or it may involve a kind of no-thought state, where you are unable to dredge up anything even remotely coherent to help get you on your way again.
Don’t you just love that Eight of Swords feeling! You don’t? Well, some part of you must be profoundly attracted to it, love or no, if you keep coming back for more. The extra complication in this card of complications is that you may not be aware of that part of you that keeps coming back to this same spot, with those same thoughts or no-thoughts, worrying the long-dead bones of an idea or a wish that never quite lived up to the deeply felt expectations you had of it. But, by golly, you’re going to try and flesh out those bones now, even if what you build is grotesque. So grotesque that it becomes overwhelming, and then a nice, long sit-down is in order. Surely that will clear the air?
But it doesn’t. Why? I find myself writing this a lot (and saying it to myself with the same frequency): because the solution does not lie at the level of the problem.
Trying to unpick the kind of thoughts that meet you on your path in the Eight of Swords is to entertain an unwelcome guest who’s never going to let you go to bed. Trying to do this is trying to reason with a lack of reason, to play a scratched record over again in the hope it won’t jump, to yell at the tv so that the woman trapped with the axe-murderer stops screaming down the phone and gets out of the fucking house. (Movie over in five minutes. Nightmare ended.)
But scratched records don’t mend themselves, annoying guests don’t leave voluntarily, movies don’t re-edit themselves between viewings, and ingrained thoughts that wander like free-radicals through your mind don’t listen to reason.
The solution does not lie at the level of the problem.
The Ten of Wands is a different experience, and one that may feel familiar. The Ten is the state you find yourself in when you reach a point past which your drive or your creativity will not carry you. It is where things have got so heavy that you hit a wall. This can feel like a shut-down of energy, or it can feel more nuanced than that. You may not feel tired, per se — not in the physical sense, at least — but you may feel something ranging from ennui to a total absence of enthusiasm, from a creativity that doesn’t flow to creativity as an obligation and not an art. And that, dear traveller, can make you very tired indeed.
The Ten of Wands describes where a creative situation, a project, or your get-up-and-go/sex drive/mojo has stopped giving the kind of returns you used to get from it — or where you finally realise that you’re never going to get the return that you had hoped for. One way or another, there is obligation attached to it, and that creates a feeling of oppression. Those Wands, bearing down on the bowed figure in the stone box, look like crystal fingers holding them in place. They have emptied out their glow.
What the figure isn’t seeing is that it is they who are glowing now. They have all that they need with them, inside. They are not bereft; nothing leaves or ends that is meant to stay. And so, both literally and metaphorically, this card invites them to step out of the box. Risky, eh? But it is ultimately an act both of self-definition and self-love.
So if you feel right now that things are far from clear, you feel dwarfed by the surreal chatterings and posturings of your monkey mind, and you feel the weight of “shoulds” and “musts” and “this used to be fun” bearing down on you:
Something is about to blow the cobwebs off your predicament, blast you awake, and call in what is ready to be revealed. There is a part of you that can no longer be kept at bay by either your indecision and mental machinations, or the increasing heaviness that surrounds energy that has been pent-up to the point of collapse.
The Judgment is on the horizon, its eyes are open, clear as the light that shines on and through them, and it is a revelatory force that is deeper and more powerful than anything that the Eight of Swords and the Ten of Wands can throw at it.
Your solution does not lie at the level of your problem, nor does your energy tolerate confinement. The Judgment knows this, and the angel on the card is poised, trumpet at the ready, to re-unite you with something that has been eluding you — a key part of the puzzle; a key part of you.
Sometimes, we have to reach a point of ludicrous intensity to trigger a situation where we are ready to let go. There has been a wisdom to your experience that you may not have realised, and which may not have felt much like “wisdom” at all. Past that, there is nothing you need to do.
When the Sun dawns, life cannot help but awaken.
Astrology Correspondences: Eight of Swords (Jupiter in Gemini), Ten of Wands (Saturn in Sagittarius), The Judgment (Pluto)