A tarot reading: Fumbling towards leadership

The garden is full of swallows.

They dart overhead, joyful and free, small, rounded and graceful. They dip and playfully skim the surface of the pool. One almost skimmed my nose. They remind me – like the tattoos on my arms – to hold myself lightly, to seek joy, to be true to the movements that suit me, and that nothing is forever. That the seasons will always turn, bringing change, migration, in-breath, out-breath.

I’m in the Algarve, the southern coast of Portugal, with friends. Here in this Mediterranean new moon morning, following the earth’s fiery rising into summer,when the blinding sunshine and heat are shaping the day by 8am, I’m claiming a moment of solitude before the others get up, before the expanse of the day and the fun-fuelled, the laughter, the nakedness we’re sharing.

I’m still sitting with the commitments I’m making this year. To step up, to show up, to commit to a project I believe will shape the future of Little Red Tarot and my work in this community. It’s big. After a winter of incubation and a spring of emergence, the movement into summer feels rampant – so much is opening, shooting up, growing, taking shape. I’ve wanted so much to share along the way – but in truth I’ve been overwhelmed by the many, many lessons and ideas opening up to me as I step forwards, excited, nervous and often confused.

I chose the bridge spread to explore the present in itself, and as part of a journey with a past and an onwards trajectory. And as screen-time is really the last thing I wanna be doing, I’m posting quickly, without editing or even proof-reading. My desire this Taurus new moon is to share, perhaps be witnessed, then go jump in the sea.

1. Present moment: The Devil

The Devil reminds me that I am still tied to the ground, still in bondage to old ideas, so many of which are not mine. Still addicted to ways of thinking and being that I have been carrying for a long, long time. I know my work right now is in finding and unlocking those shackles, and the Devil shows me that this is not a fast process. It takes more than a journal entry, a coaching session or a single moment of bright clarity to undo a lifetime of capitalist conditioning.

When I first saw the Devil, my heart sank. I wanted to shuffle her back into the deck and start over. It was the first card, nobody had to know. But Kim Krans’ smiling goat reassured me this message was a kind one, and to leave her be. And it’s true – I find this message reassuring. I know very well that I’m only in the very first pages of a long and difficult journey. It is affirming to be reminded of how hard this work is, how much there is to undo, to unlearn, to throw off.

2 & 3. Looking back: The Hermit and the Ten of Wands

I wonder if my Devil is the Hermit. So fond of working alone – it’s the only way I’ve known, and I’ve clung to it so rigorously throughout the life of my business. Private thoughts, private work, sharing where appropriate, keeping the rest to myself. Learning to emerge from this has been overwhelming – a sudden Ten of Wands-like forest of ideas, too much, really. Input from so many sources, I’ve been dazzled, then overwhelmed, by the metaphors, the lessons, the many ways of framing this movement from old economy to new, from capitalist-conditioned self to liberated, from the loneliness of working alone to the expansiveness of collaboration, and so much more.

4. Underlying the present: Two of Wands

After the fearsome darkness of the Ten, the Two is a relief. Two clear, straight lines, pointing firmly upwards, a confident response to both the overwhelm of the recent past, and the earthbound-ness of the Devil. I know that I am held here, I know that I am in chains, and I know that I am breaking them, one by one. There is movement, and it is gradual, steady, not always visible. The Two of Wands asks me to trust in this process, to stay focused, and to be patient. The Two is a ‘moment before’. It’s a steady movement towards clarity. I find it a spacious card, one that asks me to force nothing, and instead thinking, feeling, and allowing change to emerge from that swirling.

5. Next steps: Three of Wands

When the subtle, clarifying work of the Two is done, a portal opens. It is time. The Three says “when you are ready, you will know”. I believe it.

This is one of my favourite cards in the tarot – particularly in this deck. I love the mysteriousness of what lies beyond that gateway, the unknowable nature of what is possible when we step forwards, when we say yes – it’s time. Only swirling colours, enticing, powerful, hint at the magic and beauty on the ‘other side’.

6. Trajectory: Father/King of Wands

Not the brazenness of the Knight, not the sensitivity of the Queen, the King of Wands is utterly grounded in their role as leader, decision-maker, vision-holder. I have a mixed relationship with this card and here it brings me mixed feelings. Inspiration, a clear picture of leadership, yet also a warning. Like the Crone’s Shadow of Wands in a recent reading, the King to me often feels ‘too far’, the pushing of an energy beyond its sweet spot, into unconsciousness, blind ego. The King of Wands feels less about learning how to become a strong and worthy leader, and more about already knowing. They tell me the questions to ask: what are the characteristics of the leaders you admire? What challenges do they face? In what ways are they supported, where do they share, how do they hold space, and in what ways are they alone? For there is a loneliness in this card, for me. Perhaps that is where the real warning is. Symmetrically opposite the Hermit on the other side, the Father of Wands shows me a picture of alone-ness in public. I don’t want to move from alone-ness in private to this other kind of solo working.

7. A guiding star: Judgement

And none of this, none at all, without deep, true honesty. Judgement says, keep journalling. Keep swirling, dancing with my truths. Upwards, growing lighter, throwing off shackles one by one, through absolute honesty with myself.

Cards shown are from the Wild Unknown Tarot.

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    • Beth says:

      Ah, wow! I love it when a personal reading resonates for someone else – it reminds me how connected we all are, how much common ground we share, even between strangers. <3

  1. Desiree says:

    Great post, always love seeing others readings. Was really drawn to the clot though, lol, is that a blanket? I really like the size, i have smaller tarot cloth I made, but really like this size as you draped it over the table.

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