Tonight, I’ve been experimenting with a handful of new tarot spreads. It’s been a long time since I allowed myself the time for this kind of personal self-reflection. This spread in particular, tonight, I’ve found relevant and helpful. It’s helped clarify some of the feelings tumbling around my mind.
The lower three cards (Eight of Rods, Knight of Swords, and The World) were meant to represent the deep worries swirling around my mind, that I wasn’t willing to let surface. The middle two (The Lovers, and the Nine of Pentacles) were meant to represent, respectively, the darker side to these deeper worries, and the lighter side. The highest card (The Two of Swords) represents how all of these thoughts come together, finally, consciously.
To me, the Eight of Rods has always represented speed. The pace at which events happen. And, its position in a spread influences greatly whether that pace is a good or bad thing. The Knight of Swords is a card that I used to represent myself for a very long time, especially during periods of self-discovery when I was focused on cutting to the quick what the truth of my life was. Who am I? Why? What do I want? with no emotion or entanglements involved. The World, of course, represents coming full circle. To me, it is a card of sense-making. Of finally understanding, “Oh, this is why all of these things happened: to bring me here, to this moment.”
In this spread, the Eight of Rods looks threatening to the Knight of Swords. I see it as too many events cascading tumultuously, rapidly, violently, falling into the Knight’s lap. The Knight doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter–whether he accepts these events or not, they are coming. This is certainly relevant to my life. The Knight, himself, seems to be in a protective pose in regards to The World. In my life, currently, I am engaged in a huge event of sense-making. The discovery that I almost certainly have Asperger’s Syndrome has changed my world. I’ve been looking back on my life, understanding why I have felt so “Other,” so alien. Why relationships failed, in some cases, why friendships seemed so fruitless to pursue. Many things. And, I have been very defensive of this period of sense-making. I feel attacked at times, when I fear that anyone might invalidate my surety that I have autism, when I worry that it may be seen as an excuse. And, all of the events happening in my life right now, these events that bring out the worst in me, these only make me defend this more frantically, because they give me a reason to feel attacked. When I know that I am at my worst, and, suddenly, understand why (not panic attacks–meltdowns. not depression–shutdown. not dissociation–sensory overload.) I have the intense urge to share, to explain, to tell those important to me, “THIS is my experience! This is why I feel the world in this way,” in the hopes of finding understanding and validation. But, with that, comes the fear–what if there is no validation? I’m not in a place to feel strong enough to pit myself and my new sense-making against the world.
Of course, when I say, “those important to me,” I’m mostly speaking of my husband. And, of course, when I mention “life events cascading towards me,” I am speaking of the fallout of his addiction. Court. Probation. Change. Work. My portion of his world being swallowed up, so often, by his necessary obligations to himself. My portion of my own world being swallowed up by my fear of his potential failure, of more change, of more loss. And, this adds a layer to my defensiveness. My sense-making (The World) is allowing me to come full circle, and return to a period of self-discovery (The Knight) that had been left in the dust in the wake of our struggles with my husband’s addiction. When I feel this sense-making being threatened by the events around me, my mental urge is to lash out, to save it.
In the next two cards, the Lovers and the Nine of Pentacles, I see that the role that my marriage takes in my life, the shoe it fills, will have a massive effect on how I view my marriage as a whole. On the side of “dark,” and siding with the Eight of Wands, and all of the overwhelming change and fear in my life, is the Lovers itself. The fact that a choice has been made in my life; that to remain in my marriage has been to make the choice to stay the course in the face of all of these events, all of these fears. But that, because of that, so much of the focus of my marriage has become, solely, dealing with these issues. And, my identity in my marriage has become, “Better yourself so that you can better deal with all of these outside issues that are attacking our lives. Better yourself so that you can cope, so that you can be here to support and help to keep things stable.”
On the other hand, the Nine of Pentacles represents, I think, what I wish that my marriage could be. For me, the Nine of Pentacles has always been the “bird on a string.” It represents sheltering, at times negatively, but in this case, I think protectively. Huddled over The World, for me I believe this card represents the fact that my marriage could be a protective, sheltering force in my life, during this period of personal understanding. That, yes, we have events going on in our lives that are scary, intimidating, and out of my control. (My husband’s legal issues, sobriety.) But that, in my heart, I feel that it shouldn’t be my role in our marriage to be always stepping up, pushing myself, to use all of the energy that I can muster to combat these issues and fears in our lives.
I have this wish that, while we are dealing with these intimidating issues, our marriage could shelter me from this. That my husband could take the moment to grow and naturally, finally, become a support person for me as well; that I could stop feeling like a human shield. And, lately, I feel that I’m not only having to shield my husband and family from the shrapnel of my husband’s old decisions. I feel that, like the Knight steadfastly eyeing the Eight of Wands, torpedoing towards both him and the World that he is defending, I am here having to defend even my ability to learn and grow as a person. I have a wish that, instead, my marriage could be a safe place, where I am encouraged and sheltered, myself, when learning and growing and sense-making. If everywhere else in the world is frightening and overwhelming, my home, my marriage, my husband, I should be able to find solace and understanding there. Not, “It is time for you to be able to learn to feel better, so that you can be here for our marriage more.” Instead, “It is time for our marriage to grow and function better, so that it can finally begin to meet your needs as a wife, and as someone who is loved.”
This has been an important understanding.
At the top, the Two of Swords represents what I had known. The feeling that I had noticed, but had had such a difficult time finding words for, prior to interpreting these other cards. This feeling, seen in the Two of Swords, is stasis. Paralysis. “What do I do?” “Why are things like this?” “How do I make a choice?” “Where do I go from here?”
And, it’s true. I have been feeling paralyzed, and have not known precisely why. Now, I do have a better idea of that. What to do about it? I am still not entirely sure. But, I do feel that I have one thought which has helped me to find more understanding and validation: That, it’s okay that the positive changes that have been made in my life and marriage recently are not enough. That is something that I have struggled with; it is hard to see my husband finally begin to try, to learn, to grow, but to still be–myself–unhappy. I was uncertain about whether this was some personal failing of my own, or a sign that my marriage was doomed.
Now, I don’t see it as either of those things. I now understand that it is okay to want what I want. It is my right to need what I need, in terms of support, in terms of feeling loved, in terms of what I need my marriage to be in my life. It is okay to recognize that, while my husband may be trying his hardest right now, the fact that he is neck deep in his own struggles mean that he will not be able to be here for me in the way that I need him to. Yes, we are in a state of uncomfortable stasis. But, it is okay to wait it out, while also not accepting “positive change” as “perfection,” as “enough.” Admitting that his best, currently, for me, for our relationship, isn’t “enough” doesn’t make me a bad person. And, it doesn’t mean that he is doomed, either. Instead, it is a question of, “can I be okay with this stasis, this waiting, while things slowly, painfully slowly, change?” and, for now, I think that I can.