The Tarotcast – Week of November 21, 2016

A new week, a new reading. Right?

Not so fast, you enthusiastic traveller, you. Your desire to power yourself towards the experience promised by The Star last week and the flow and connection it symbolises is understandable.

First, however, it is time to work through another strand in the spider’s web, another piece of the puzzle – a puzzle that has you at the heart of it.

This week’s reading, you see, is far closer to last week’s than may first seem apparent. It may be closer than feels entirely comfortable. It is close for a purpose, though, and that is to get into a particularly fusty, dusty corner of the psyche to brush the metaphorical cobwebs away.


The Tower, Four of Swords, Eight of Cups from The Röhrig Tarot deck, created by Carl-W. Röhrig © US Games, Inc. Click on the image for a larger version.

There is a place that needs the light – that is demanding it – and that, friend, is very probably the source of your discomfort. This may not be the kind of work that you run at with open arms (then again, who knows?). It’s more like the psychological equivalent of suiting up for a quick, but entirely necessary, dunk into the sewers.

But if there’s anyone equipped to fill this role, it is you.

If there is anyone who is going to benefit from it, it is you too. And perhaps many more besides.

So let’s suit up together and take a look. It might not be what you think. It rarely is. But it can be convincing – convincing enough to ensure you don’t come closer.

Because why would something try to elude your attention if it didn’t feel threatened? Why would something apparently invincible want to hide in a corner? Are you playing hide-and-go-seek with a boogey man that’s more Boo Radley than Beelzebub? Has Beelzebub grown tired of having to carry all of your unclaimed baggage for you?

Time to tidy up.

Last week, the reading comprised a Four, Eight, and Major Arcana: the Four of Disks, the Eight of Disks, and The Star. This week, we have another Four, Eight, and Major: the Four of Swords, the Eight of Cups, and The Tower.

Fours are pauses, and while last week’s Four of Disks was a consolidation of Power, with a tendency to cling too tightly for fear of letting go of what you have, this week the pause has a different quality.

Embodying the idea of “time out,” the Four of Swords comes with an implicit warning: step back, move inside, give yourself time to regroup and to reconnect with what matters. The war (of words – sometimes more) may wage in the world outside (in the form of the Three and Five of Swords, as two experiences flanking the Four of Swords), but it would serve you to move away from the front-lines to reconsider your position with yourself and with what matters most.

This is a reconsideration of Soul, and how your beliefs, and what you say – and what you do based on these – serve it.

It is a reminder of who and what you choose to follow, and a realignment with an inner will that keeps you nourished and from which you can draw when you need it.

Ignoring the “time out” not only depletes your reserves, but diminishes your discernment. And here is why you need both:

On the left of the reading, you have The Tower. This card is foundational to what’s happening, and is linked to The Star (still yet to appear on the horizon) because in the Major Arcana The Tower (card 16) makes way for The Star (card 17). Your showdown with Beelzebub in The Devil (card 15 in the Majors, implied here because it comes before The Tower and The Star) means that you can no longer foist your baggage into some dark recess or some ‘other’ in the hope that you can avoid taking responsibility for it.

The Devil has made damned sure you knew there was something that was yours that you needed to own, as shameful or distasteful – sometimes as wondrous, even – as it might have been. Through this discovery, something that was out of integrity has had to fall away; it could no longer stand because the foundations of your experience of yourself and your life shifted, just as you can no longer tolerate or bear an aspect of yourself that has been propped up by false expectation or representation. That is The Tower in a nutshell: a striking down, a cutting back, an act of burning or disintegration. Maybe you were the conscious initiator. Maybe it felt like it was coming at you from outside. Maybe it happened not to you, but close enough for you to feel the earth shake.

There is a “no going back” quality to The Tower that has wiped the slate clean and cleared out the channels so that what is true can be restored. The Four of Swords comes at just the right time, because now is not the time to act – or, more accurately, not to REact.

Now is the time to stop, rest, allow the silt to settle, and sense the clarity of what approaches even if you can’t see it yet.

And it may still take some time because what you are dealing with alongside The Tower, and what the Four is also here to assist you with, is the Eight of Cups.

Welcome to the sewer – and you wouldn’t have found it had the experience of The Tower not revealed what was lying in its foundations.

The Eight of Cups is what happens when you’ve created all manner of diversions (or perhaps one or two favoured ones) to keep some form of pain or disappointment at bay. This is a dream unrealised, a longing unexpressed, a desire held down and in check, and the fallout of emotions that come with that experience.

To revisit that dream is also to revisit the emotions that come with it. It would mean having to contemplate that emotional baggage circling in reclaim – the baggage that’s waiting for you to say, “Yes. That’s mine.”

It takes a lot of energy to keep that baggage doing its merry-go-round on the carousel. It’s energy that could re-enliven the waters in the Eight so that they could flow again. It is energy that comes from ‘correct action’ and the decision not to run away, or to build castles in the air – but to be still, and to acknowledge where something blocked can once again run free.

The thing about that water in the Eight of Cups is this: it carries the golden threads of true path. In spite of everything, those threads persist. You separate them out by suiting up and getting a little dirty. Or a lot dirty. You reconnect with them by taking the time you need to stop fighting – others, yourself, those ridiculous battles that have no winners – so that, paradoxically, you see what the fight is really about – and what is worth fighting for.

That indolence is an old story, and you know it well. Which is why you know how well to avoid it.

You also, now, know how to address it. It may be far simpler than you think; that baggage may be lighter than you imagined. It may be more complex, but you’re also perfectly equipped to ask for assistance, and I’d suggest you do that, whether it be a witness, someone to hold your hand, someone who is able to hold you in their presence while you attend to what is yours, or someone who knows this subterranean land well – a therapist, a counsellor, a guide.

Now is the time. The Star follows The Tower, and if these later Majors teach anything, it is that they appear because you have it in you to roll up your sleeves and get on with the task. Whether you know it or not, you have been preparing for this; you have everything you need, including a voice to ask for assistance.

This is sludge; this is old. This has already happened – probably further back than you think. What’s calling up ahead in The Star is brilliant and hums with life, and it is leading you through a swampland that, like any hero, you must cross if you want to reach the other side.

The Four of Swords’ crisp contours, its defined edges, its muted but living colours, and the light in the distance, is the mechanism that you use to make that swampland crossing: a suspension of mental conflict, a deferring to a wisdom that speaks in a quieter, more hallowed voice than those vying for your attention on the battlefield.

A place where you have space to negotiate the Eight of Cups without identifying with old emotional patterns that have had a tendency to pull you in and under.

The Four gives you room to do that intricate soul work of taking what is really yours, and leaving the rest. Follow that golden thread. It may feel like a lot is shifting, on the move, perhaps some of it fallen away, but now you have the ability to see your next step.

And, right now, that’s all you need to see.


Astrology Correspondences: The Tower (Mars), Four of Swords (Jupiter in Libra), Eight of Cups (Saturn in Pisces)

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The Tarotcast – Week of November 21, 2016


  1. M on 22 November 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks so much for the reading! I look forward to these so much every week, I was worried you were taking the week off (which would make sense in the US, since it’s a holiday, but not so much for you!) All the best.

    • Integrated Tarot on 23 November 2016 at 6:09 pm

      You’re welcome, M! All the best to you too 🙂

  2. Deb on 23 November 2016 at 12:48 am

    Dear Sarah,
    You are absolutely brilliant. I feel like I’ve just been through the emotional wringer. I’ve taken a time out from a significant developing relationship to process some old emotional material, to take responsibility and to regroup. It’s been exhausting but freeing. I am listening to that still small voice that is guiding me all the way. Thank you so much for these readings. I’ve done your free mini course and I’m falling in love with tarot. I’m using it for guidance every day. ❤️Much love

    • Integrated Tarot on 23 November 2016 at 6:14 pm

      Dear Deb,

      I don’t know the details, obviously, but from the little you write here: good on you for taking time out at a time when perspective is all-too-often lost and the temptation is to keep running *in*to relationship. They have a tendency to bring up a lot, as I experienced personally the past year 🙂

      And I’m thrilled that you’re falling in love with tarot! Feel free to contact me and update me with your progress; I’d love to hear how you’re both getting along.

      S ❤️

  3. Rossa on 23 November 2016 at 6:34 pm

    As usual your reading is so perceptive. For me it has been learning that love can make us feel weak, helpless and vulnerable and that that is OK. For someone who has always been strong, having my beloved cat put to sleep on Monday provided me with a final gift from him to me. I had to be strong making the decision to let him go. But I loved him so much, that at the end I was too weak to see it through and be there when he was finally set free.

    I felt I had let him down. I had to face my guilt and shame for being so weak and helpless. I didn’t want my last image of him to be a lifeless body. My Mum was in bits and I wanted to be strong for her. I will always remember his little face looking so sad and forlorn. He didn’t want to look at me at the end before I left the room.

    What I have learned is that it is ok to feel weak, helpless and vulnerable. There is strength in recognising that, together with an awareness of our vulnerabilities.

    When my father died 5 years ago I did not grieve in the accepted sense. He had been in failing health for 15 years so I guess I did my grieving before he died. I wasn’t there for him at the end either. But that was his choice as he wanted me to go on the business trip I had planned. I stayed strong for my mother and family.

    This week I cried for him and for Magnum, my beautiful companion. I give thanks that I was able to be strong for both of them but also face my need to be weak in the face of the loss of so much love. But then it’s not really lost as it’s always there in my heart. I am so thankful to have had them both in my life and for what they gave to me.

    • Integrated Tarot on 24 November 2016 at 10:29 am

      Rossa – That is enough grief to float a ship on a sea of tears. I am so sorry – for your loss of Magnus, for what it also enlivened in you about your father’s death; I am sorry for your mother, and for Magnus too. Your message feels healing: there is a compassion for everyone, including your own (apparent) “weakness,” and it is very moving to read.

      Thank you for bringing so much of yourself to your post, and I hope you are giving yourself plenty of time and tenderness to move through all of this.