Self-care and healing – Fives of Cups and Pentacles

We were niggly, restless.

I was cross because I couldn’t hear properly because some woman had a really piercing voice in there, and because I had PMT and a headache, and because of the weather, and because I was just in a grump this week. She wasn’t herself either.

We drew cards.

From the Wild Unknown Tarot, by Kim Krans
Five of Cups and Five of Pentacles, from the Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans


Let’s all have some quiet times, people. Let’s nurture ourselves, be with ourselves, eat well, rest up, take the air, mend little things, make little things, feel the bleakness of January.

I realised that I’ve not had time alone for months.

After a dip in confidence late last year, I’ve almost felt afraid to be by myself. At first, I couldn’t remember what to do – I’d forgotten how it went, that solitude thing. Then I remembered. It starts with music. And making. Music for making?

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Tap tap tap. Stitch stitch, sip sip. Stuff everywhere. Aubergines sizzling on the stove. Mixtapes bubbling on the laptop. Poetry and cleaning. Fabric and paper and digital downloads. Staring into space. A thunderclap rumbles right through me. Rain, hail and rain again. A healing elixir of spices and milk warms me.

When the signs say it’s time for some healing and self-care, it might not always mean happiness.

Healing doesn’t have to be joyful. In my creativity, my mind was largely quiet. I swung slowly through my moods, not staying anywhere for long, just observing the queer ebb and flow of my state of heart – first fear, then excitement, then a strange, placid place, then darkness, then light. The stimulation of someone’s words arranged *just right*, the irritation of unpicking misplaced stitches, the satisfaction of one song following another, the calm confidence of being me.

And as night drew in and I settled down by the fire, I felt a shift and allowed myself to go further into those darker places.

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  1. Emily says:

    Hey there. So i received the wild unknown deck for christmas this year and have had fun breaking it in and getting a feel for the energy. I used it to do my annual wheel of the year spread where 12 cards lie in a circle and beginning at 12 o clock–january, 1–february, 2–march, etc. to get an overview/forecast for the months ahead. It startled me to see the photo of the V of cups and V of pentacles (in that order) in my reader because those are the two cards I pulled for the months of February and March and have particularly been tugging at the back of my mind all month. The World followed by those two fives doesn’t look exactly like a thrilling prospect (those darker places you mentioned) and I’m definitely feeling the onset of winter blues. Wondering if you’d be willing to give me a little further impression of reading these two cards as a pair? Or, for context, the order I drew the cards (with bookends) was The World, 5 of Cups, 5 of Pentacles, King of Wands. Any words you might offer would be incredible. xo thanks for blogging!

    • Little Red says:

      Hey Emily!

      I think these two describe how a lot of people are feeling at the moment – dark, cold January, feels like this rain will never stop..(here in the UK at any rate). That’s tough you got them both together too…personally I felt both relief and sadness to see them. Relief because, like a diagnosis, they seemed to say ‘yep, you’re feeling shit – that’s okay’, and sad, because I didn’t want to accept how down I was feeling.

      Reading them together – well for me there’s a strong connect between emotional and physical down-ness. Thinking about your yearly reading, although I don’t personally believe in predictive tarot, I guess there’s a warning here that those winter blues will amplify in February, and you may start feeling the effects more physically in March. Lots of soup and ginger and honey for you! Wrap up warm, have your friends round for snuggly DVD nights, surround yourself with warmth. Make this.

      But really I’m projecting – that’s just how they felt for me this past strange week. The Five of Pents also speaks of feelings of being ‘outcast’ and then also the support you can get from others who are ‘outside society’. So maybe, following on from the wonderful niche-filling feeling of The World in January, when the new year makes everything seem possible and/or we look back on the previous year and make sense of all the crazy shit that happened, there can be a sense of desolation as the new year really kicks in with bleak February. This could easily lead you to self-neglect. I also get this feeling, though, that the Five of Pents sees you finding your niche again in offering help and support to others? Makes me wonder if you’re doing any volunteering work at the moment or have friends who are sad/poorly and need your kind energy in their times of need. If you’re not doing this, the Five of Pents, particularly after the sadness/loss in the Five of Cups, could be encouraging you to give some time to help others.

      Gosh this is all a bit much for the comments section isn’t it!
      Beth x

  2. Emily says:

    amazing. i truly appreciate your insight. I also realized that February 1st marks the Chinese New Year of the Horse. Not something I know much about but an interesting parallel for my February card in any case. I have a lot of water energy in me and can retreat pretty deep inside from time to time its great advice to stay aware of what and who are outside of myself and be willing to give what I can. thanks again!! xo

  3. Hi Beth,

    Thanks for this post. I was really unnerved after pulling the 5 of pents, the World, and 5 of chalices (in that order) today. Your post really helped me to make sense of it. The sensations and moods you described are eerily like my own at the moment–it seems like some kind of marching, silent transition where I’m taking a detached inventory of things that matter and things that don’t. Sensations and thoughts flow in and out.
    I feel like the cards are telling me that I must be okay with the mutable nature of everything.

    Best Regards,

    • Beth says:

      My pleasure Elizabeth. I’ve had my share of those tough tarot readings and it’s part of my own tarot practice to find ways to see silver linings, positive messages and so on in those ‘difficult’ cards. I’m so glad this helped you 🙂

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