You may not know, but I use tarot in my own daily spiritual and self care practice. I find the tarot supportive, particularly the cards known as the "Major Arcana" which take us on a journey of change.
The cards take us on a journey which includes cycles of change. There is a wisdom in the cards that life works in a cyclical or spiralic way vs. a linear way.
This helps anchor me in my unlearning from oppressive systems programming I (and I think if you grew up in a Western society, you likely have too) which includes the belief that life is supposed to be a linear journey; whether it be financial, marriage, career, or personal development.
The story of the major arcana in tarot says "nope! You're going to take a journey, learn lessons, and once you get to "the end" you begin again."
Two cards which I find so much comfort in are the "Hanged One" and the "Death" card.
I know this sounds strange if you're not familiar, but "hang" with me a minute! (ok, lame mom joke)
These two cards can be symbolized by late autumn & winter (a metaphor used by my tarot teacher, Lindsay Mack). The "hanged one" is like a leaf barely hanging on the tree-already dying but not quite dead.
It's the time when we sense relationships, jobs, living situations are coming to an end but it's not "the" end yet. This can be a time marked by the stages of grief (denial, depression, anger, sadness, bargaining, acceptance) as some part of us intuitively knows the end is coming, but may not feel ready to surrender.
This card brings me comfort in dark times when I feel I'm just hanging on, that a situation or a job is coming to an end, and I want to beat up on myself for it or label it a "failure."
And it's because I know what the "death" card or stage is REALLY about that I have hope.
The death card is the leaves on the ground, cracking apart, fungi breaking them down, and composting. We can think of it as a necessary "winter season" in an area of our lives or relationships.
What nature teaches us is that this process of death and decay is not only inevitable, it's also necessary to continue life. The compost of the last season's leaves become fertile soil for the next season's spring blooms.
There's also examples in religions that have been taken literally or metaphorically to illustrate this important lesson. The physical death of Jesus, the spiritual "death to Self" that lead to Buddha's spiritual awakening. Both represent dying to our old selves, and coming alive anew.
All these examples remind us that to grow we must let the old go-as scary, uncomfortable, and painful as it may be.
Our nervous systems DEFINETELY don't like to let go of old "survival patterns" like overworking, people pleasing, controlling, settling, etc. that helped us survive our childhoods but are now no longer serving us.
You may have a pattern or behavior that you can see is stubbornly hanging on-like that last leaf on a tree in November.
While there is no way to make it less painful, there is a path forward in change.
It starts with acceptance of what is, and a heaping dose of self compassion and appreciation for all the ways that this old pattern or behavior may have served you, kept you safe, loved, and protected in your past.
Then the goal is to create safety in ourselves through nervous system regulation; and in our lives through boundaries and clear communication. The more safe our nervous system feels, the more likely it will become open to change.
Wherever you are on your change journey, I'm sending you so much love and hope you can hold yourself with lots of self compassion vs judgement, tenderness vs shame, and curiosity vs fear.
Cassandra Solano, LCSW