Life is not linear. In tarot, we so often do the Past, Present, Future spread or something like that and it may give the impression that life, too, lines up in a row like the cards where one thing follows after the next and the next. It's way more complicated than that. My life has tangential tentacles that reach out in various directions and get tangled up and weave in and out of each other.
I've been married and divorced twice now. My first marriage was in many ways horrible. Just horrible. The man was brutal and cruel and sadistically abused me. But there were sweet times, too, and we had a child together that we both love. My second marriage was sweet but died a slow, painful death. We had three children together and raised my first child together as well. I am without a doubt heartbroken that that relationship fell to pieces and couldn't be put back together again.
And yet...I am in love again. This man is incredibly sweet and fine and we fit together despite our sixteen year age difference. I find myself smiling absentmindedly because my heart is so full and whole.
Whole? Didn't I just say it was broken? What the hell?
Yeah...it's like that. Do I have a heart for each man that I have loved...one for each that beats and breaks? Or just one heart that opens a bit wider for each person I love? A heart that hurts for the failures and mistakes and abuses and injuries and that same heart that is filled when my love is loved. Relationships...men...people... are not interchangeable. One relationship cannot take the place of another. I have lost much and those losses are not replaced by another relationship. Am I making sense? The loss of my marriage is profound and being in a new relationship really does not quell that sense of defeat and disappointment.
At the same time, I am walking on air, happier than I've been in a long, long time. I don't want to hurt anyone with my happiness, so I tend to keep it to myself. I don't shout my feelings from the rooftops...I play my cards close to the vest and watch how things play out. But damn, I am in love. Seriously. He and I both have tried to get each other out of our systems. I went back to my marriage and tried to make it work. He went to another relationship and tried to make that work. Through it all we could not let the other go entirely. We kept gravitating back to each other until finally we both had to look each other in the eyes and admit what had been incredibly obvious to others: we were and are in love.
So what is this in tarot terms. Five of Cups? Yeah...the sense of loss overwhelms at times yet the two cups that remain standing show the potential of what can be. Five of Swords? Yeah, that, too. Loss and gain together at great price. Three of Swords? A truth that both hurts and heals and sets one free. Judgement, a crucial realization that moves one from one way of living to another. Ace of Cups? Sure thing. A flood of emotions, both positive and negative, the force of which pulls you away and toward. The Fool? Quite right. The Lovers, The World, The Star. Death, Strength, Temperance. They all play a role and describe a facet of what has transpired these last few years.
That Two of Pentacles juggler and the Two of Swords blindfolded woman both trying to hold two opposing realities at the same time. I can do it. I do it all the time it seems. I hold it all in my heart and in my life and realize that I do not have to choose one feeling or another...but simply feel.
To everything there is a season and a purpose under heaven, so said Solomon the Wise. And yet even he separated the times to laugh and to cry, whereas I tend to do them both at once. My seasons overlap like an Indian Summer in October or an April snow that blankets the forsythia.
I know this and remember this when reading tarot. That while the cards may be read in a neat row, seldom is anyone's life mapped out like that. Read the space between and around the cards, see the various intersectional lines that connect them in a spiderweb like pattern that allows for blended experiences rather than ok, this will happen then this, then that. Remember that while a card may say a person will feel thus and so it does not mean they will act accordingly nor make a decision based upon those feelings. Or just because X and Y are in place it doesn't not necessarily follow that Z will be the outcome. Leave room for inconsistencies and overlaps and ambiguities and ambivalence. Because this is real, human life we're reading in those cards and life is one big soup pot sometimes.