Discover more from devils & fools
tarot reflections for april 2022
hello, friends, and welcome to april.
i’m offering a completely free lesson on the basic numerology of tarot on saturday, april 9th, at 1pm EST, and would love for you to join me. (if you can’t make the event live or have to leave halfway through, the video will be available on my website immediately afterwards.) numerology has been such a powerful tool for me in my tarot work, and has offered so many profound new methods of discovery when it comes to connecting to individual cards as well as noting patterns in readings. i hope you find this lesson as useful as i have.
this month’s piece is a little bit more personal than i usually go here, but i think there’s value in being vulnerable, in sharing bits of ourselves, in being willing to let other people see us in ways that are true. and whether you can relate to my story or not, i hope you find some comfort in it. no matter what you have endured, no matter where you have come from, i hope you choose joy, whenever you’re able. i hope you choose freedom, as much as possible. i hope you choose community, however you find it.
take a few deep breaths, grab a big glass of water, and let’s dig in.
if you’d like to hear me read this offering aloud, click here.
choices are powerful. so often, they represent moments in our lives when we can see multiple futures stretching out before us, multiple doors opening, multiple pathways being cleared. it’s up to us to make a decision about the direction we want to grow in, up to us to choose the goal that resonates the most deeply within us.
choices can lead us to freedom, which on the surface feels like a simple notion. it’s movement, lightness, opportunity, an endless set of possibilities. it’s not letting other people or places or institutions control our expansion, not letting anyone or anything dictate who we get to be. it’s exploration without restriction, opportunity without limits.
but as soon as we talk about freedom, it begs the question: freedom from what? what are we removing ourselves from, extricating ourselves out of, leaving behind? how have we been restricted, confined, and what does it take to break through and come out the other side?
when we think about the number 5 and the hierophant, it’s so much about embracing and understanding the inherent tension that lives within all of us, the boundaries that exist around us, the traditions that we can find both comfort and restriction in. for some, this is the friction that exists between who we were raised to be and who we have actually become, while for others, this might be about accepting who we are, or what we love, or the ways that we want to move through the world. these are big questions, lifelong questions, questions that may never feel completely solved or answered. (and it would be irresponsible for me to not acknowledge that for many, freedom is not simply about overcoming internal tension but instead about overturning massive systemic atrocities.) yet in letting ourselves sit with these questions, in understanding the ways that different religions and practices and beliefs and methodologies answer these questions, we can begin to carve out spaces for ourselves.
and with the number 6 and the lovers, we break free from any lingering restraints, and begin to make our own way, dictating our own destiny, seizing what we want. we create our own communities, find partnerships that reflect our most authentic selves, enjoy the sense of relief and power that freedom can bring. and in doing so, we create opportunities for real, lasting healing.
but letting go is harder than it sounds, and can create its own questions. what about everything we leave behind? what if we aren’t ready to release every aspect of that old version of self? and what about the things that we carry forward, without even realizing it?
i wasn’t raised to chase after freedom. in the conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist religious structure that my parents’ church clung to, everything about my life put god at the center. over and over i was told that god had a plan for my life, that he had created me in a specific image, that there were firm rules for the way that i was to think and act and speak and dream and connect, and that any deviation from those rules made me a sinner, a failure, someone that no one — not even the almighty father in heaven — could actually love, respect, or appreciate.
“somehow it felt easier to sink into those impossible rules, that deepest form of self-loathing, than it was to question the framework i was working within. somehow i preferred to see my every action and desire and thought as sin, rather than question why all of those seemingly natural instincts and impulses were consistently labeled as wrong. somehow i learned to hate myself, and called it god’s love instead.”
-from a god that makes sense to me for autostraddle, october 2019
calvinism, the theology that i grew up believing, teaches that anything negative, harmful, selfish, or destructive that we do comes from within us, and cannot be altered without the grace of god. this interpretation of the bible teaches that we as human beings are only capable of wickedness, of total depravity and nothing more. if we are lucky enough to do anything positive, uplifting, altruistic, or beautiful, it’s because we were chosen by god to be a vessel, not because we ourselves created it. compliments are meant to be deflected, turned into a way to give glory to god, and to accept them for ourselves, to believe that we can create beauty on our own, is the height of hubris.
it’s heavy, i know. as a kid that loved to write, that chased wonder, that dreamed of travel and experiences and connections and creativity and real, authentic love, this message was impossible to internalize without a certain degree of self-loathing. it makes our every effort seem foolish, selfish, forces us to worry that anything we deem important will be dismissed or even destroyed by those we love, or by god himself.
and if you think of your life as the ultimate personal creation, of the things that you do and the places that you go and the relationships that you keep as reflective of your values, and your value? it’s not hard to see how quickly this worldview becomes destructive. i was taught that a life without god at the center is not one worth living. and let me tell you, those concepts are so deeply entangled in my own psyche that some days, i worry i’ll never be completely free of them.
the lovers, and all of the 6 cards in the tarot, are about moving beyond what we have always known, and about being brave enough to explore something new, to name and pursue something that we crave. it’s courageous because it’s hard, because it’s scary, because we know that people might call us selfish or flighty or ridiculous. it feels impossible at times, because often, we are trying to walk away from a structure or tradition or belief that feels like it keeps us together, protects us, or makes us whole.
yet this is the kind of choice that brings us that oh-so-necessary freedom. in moving forward, in pushing through boundaries and stretching our hands towards that enticing, uncertain future, we put ourselves first. we let people see us for who we actually are, and learn to love ourselves deeply, fully. in being vulnerable and authentic, in being strong enough to try something brand new, we make the kinds of relationships and connections that truly feed and inspire us, instead of ones that keep trying to push us into safe, nonthreatening little boxes.
much of my energy the last few years, and particularly in the last few months, has been in trying to open this part of myself up, to look carefully at it, to stop denying that it’s present. there’s no one left in my life to whisper these harmful messages of sin and selfishness, because i’ve kicked them all out — yet i keep repeating them to myself anyway, clinging to them like they’re helping me instead of holding me back. i might’ve grabbed the keys to my own cage and opened the door a long time ago, but some days, i still feel trapped inside, unable to move freely.
i survived by trimming bits of me away, trying to cram myself into a very specific mold, conforming to make everyone else happy and comfortable. maybe you did too. but those pieces that i once surrendered, that i have since reclaimed, are now the things that i love the most about myself, that i know are the most special, the most valuable, the most powerful. my queerness, my intuition, my empathy, my collaborative creativity, my love for chosen family — these aren’t weaknesses, aren’t sinful, aren’t things that i was ever meant to surrender. in rediscovering them, in choosing to celebrate them instead of smothering them, i get to be my whole self, in all of my beauty and strength and fullness, and even in my failure. authenticity is magic, even if it’s a kind of magic that we have to constantly recover for ourselves.
those pieces of yourself that feel lost haven’t really left you, i promise. your magic isn’t gone. you just might have to find it, name it, cherish it. you just might have to let others see it, so that they can reflect it back to you.
and if it feels a little self-absorbed to say out loud that my authenticity is a gift? if it feels hard for you to accept that your magic hasn’t left you? that lingering discomfort is an essential part of the process. pushing through that tension is necessary to get to the freedom on the other side.
we can only fly free once we actually leave the cage.
what have you been fighting through, learning about yourself, coming to terms with? when have you given something up, surrendered a piece of yourself that made you feel whole and magical and brilliant even if it also makes you stand out? what would it feel like to claim it again, to celebrate and center it in your life? who in your life has been by your side as you clarify who you want to be, cheering you on and growing with you?
what are you ready to choose? and what will it mean to choose it?
you can sign up for my free session on tarot and numerology right now, and if you’d like to dig more deeply into the lovers with a community study group, check out my patreon. paid subscribers to this newsletter will get an exclusive spread on the topics in this piece later this month, so if you’d like insights into exploring these ideas with your tarot cards, upgrade your subscription today.
wishing you a bold, brave, joyful april, friends. be safe.
images from this post feature the wild unknown tarot. all photographs by meg jones wall.