loving and letting go: lessons from the tarot

A tarot card deck is a magical little object. Skeptics will often question its validity. How can a bunch of pictures on some cards tell me my future? Aren’t the cards we pick from a deck just random, so how could they hold any significant meaning?

I will follow those thoughts with a story. Last spring I ordered online this beautiful tarot card deck called “The Collective Tarot”. I wanted to use it in my intuitive counselling practise because it draws upon images, historical and mythological stories centering people of colour, activists, queer and genderqueer folks, fat and hairy bodies, it brings an awareness to external and internalized oppression and leaves an openness for all different kinds of relationship models. However, the deck never came to me in the mail and I never got around to following up on it.

Fast forward to present day – one day last week I set aside some time to give myself a tarot reading (with the current deck I use, the “Goddess Tarot”) to help me through some growing pains. Right before, I met up with my good friend Kim who was visiting the city for a few days, and she told me she had something to show me. The Collective Tarot deck that someone had recently gifted her! I asked if I could borrow it for a few days while she was in the city.

Over a few days, my connection with these cards has been unexplainably magical. The reading these cards gave me made me cry the kind of tears that flow when someone unexpectedly gives you a hug in a moment you feel like nothing is holding you. When someone reminds you that they see you…in all the pain you’ve been through, and all the brilliant things you’ve accomplished, when you forget how to validate and recognize those things for yourself.The same evening I brought the deck to a dinner get together with some of my dearest chosen fam and gave them all readings knowing that healing is meant to be shared. I took pictures of the cards that meant the most to me, I wrote down descriptions that I needed to remember. I didn’t want to give the deck back to my friend! It felt like it was mine. And I secretly hoped that she would tell me to keep them. (she didn’t :P) I finally parted ways with this deck knowing it wasn’t actually mine to keep, and trusting that its magic would come back to me in another way it was meant to, and stay with me in non-physical ways.

Are experiences like this just ‘random’ and meaningless? Like cards we choose from a deck? Or do things happen because they are supposed to? Did the deck get lost in the mail, did I keep putting off inquiring about why because I was supposed to come across it in a different way and time that it was particularly significant? Do the lessons and insights embedded in objects and experiences come to us because we need them to? Do we understand the meanings the cards bring us because we are ready to?

Receiving this deck, and giving it back after a short amount of time, was something I needed to experience at this point of my life. It was a lesson I needed to be reminded of in the midst of all my growing pains. I needed another story given to me about loving and letting go.

You know the kind of love. That unexplainably magical connection which both completely surprises you and makes you feel like you’ve known for lifetimes it was coming. A hug that holds you when you thought you had forgotten how to be held. A connection that in a moment makes you know you are exactly who you’ve always wanted to be, and feel exactly how you’ve always wanted to feel.

I’ve struggled a lot with loss that comes through death or change, because I get so attached to people, creatures, places, objects and even moments that have gifted me this kind of love. Most of my life I never understood what the deal was with this damn detachment thing I always hear people talking about. The majority of my life has been about not knowing how to let go.

After my friend and her cards went back home, I cried in the shower and let myself grieve for many losses and many changes. I cried for the changes I felt in myself. I heard that urgent childlike voice ringing warning bells, so afraid that love is scarce and always slipping away – and I let her cry. I listened to the calm, wise elder sitting on her red rocking chair in the back of my mind, assuring me that while many things come and go, we have everything we need within us, and all the ways we give, receive and share love will keep returning to us, in one form or another.

Love doesn’t get stuck in a person, a relationship, an experience, a place, an object, or a moment. It doesn’t get stuck in a tarot deck. Rather, love moves freely like water, like fire, like air, it is channeled through many different things and beings and will always be brought to us. When it does, the most I can hope and strive for is to receive it with my most openness and freedom, share it with my most generosity and compassion, and release it with my most wisdom and calm.

We go through seemingly random experiences all the time, but there is meaning embedded in everything if we decide to notice it, and if we are ready to learn from it. At this moment in time I needed to hear and feel this lesson the cards gave me about grieving loss and honouring, trusting love. I haven’t always been — and lord knows won’t always be — this gracious in coming to terms with loss, death, change, or letting go as I am in this moment – but at least I have moments to know that it is possible.

Tarot cards are powerful and meaningful for this very reason – in the midst of all our growing pains, the cards will show us the lessons we need to learn, when we are ready to receive them.

Are you ready to receive wisdom that cards and the stars have for you? Check out my services and rates page if you want to book a reading!

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