Challenges: Tarot fives

What’s with all the fives this week? At the weekend, she drew the Five of Pentacles, I, the Five of Cups. I feel that both cards are for both of us and it’s time for some serious self-care.

But not overthinking. Oh no – I’ve been cheerfully warned against that. That’s how I lost my mojo, right? You think on shit too hard, and slowly but surely, the fire seeps out of it and you’re left with a bundle of clever thoughts and not a lot of sense. Well – that’s what happened to me, anyway. And I’m still struggling to get that mojo back.

As Marie White writes, “all of the fives carry with them an element of challenge and suffering…a pit of your body, your own hell…into which you will have to go to retrieve the core of yourself.”

That’s scary. But it’s true. And if tarot is to reflect human experience, then challenging times and even ‘personal hell’ are a part of that. I certainly feel I’m delving into the pit right now – feeling around for my core, grasping for it, finding little pieces.

Fives of Cups, Disks and Swords, from the Mary-el Tarot by Marie White
Fives of Cups, Disks and Swords, from the Mary-el Tarot by Marie White

The Five of Cups told me to nurture my heart. It’s hurting, it said, let it be sad. Be with your feelings, but don’t lose sight of hope.

The Five of Pentacles warned of self-neglect. It’s true, I sighed – I’m not eating properly, not exercising, not stretching tall, not breathing deep. This saps my strength.

And now I draw the Five of Swords! Mary-el’s is a sight to behold: Athena, bright-eyed, owls her familiars, all-seeing, all knowing. Marie White writes:

How you will deal with [your] challenge…is through intelligence and strategy, reason, civillised discipline, and philosophy.


Work through the pain and suffering, illness, depression. Whatever is afflicting you, you must keep going. Question all paranoia.

Marie White, The Mary-el Tarot: Landscapes of the Abyss

So now it is time for thinking. I spent the weekend in a meditative state, taking on the lessons of the Fives of Cups and Pentacles, observing my feelings, being with them, keeping warm, feeding myself with spices and music, giving myself a hug. I tried hard not to let myself think too much.

The fives are taking me on a journey through the challenging state I’m in right now. I think of my recent astrological reading, and how in it, I am encouraged to write, to vision, to work out my world view by hand and word. Today is the day. To find that notebook. To start paying attention to what comes into my head.

Writing takes discipline. Wheat must be sorted from chaff. But before this there must be a sowing, and then a harvest. I guess I’m at the sowing stage. Back down into the pit, searching for the core, bringing up the fragments, writing them down. Seeing what grows.

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