And now, we’re at the cusp of a new season. On the day of publication, Leo is turning to Virgo – autumn is slowly crawling in at the edges of this weird summer. The world is still absolutely on fire, says Sarah Maria Griffin…[restrict]
There is no apparent end in sight. I speak to you from a difficult week: one where I couldn’t turn to the cards myself for comfort at all. However, I invite you to look at the tarot as I do: a secular roadmap. A parable about being alive. Not a magical stack of answers, not a fortune telling trick. Rather, a story that reminds us that we live in a world of elements, cycles, relationships. It asks us to act with intention: even, if not especially, when we are struggling. With this, I ask you to find yourself in this mix. To ask hard questions of yourself. To somehow, go above your nerve. To move in this world with curiosity, even when all the answers
The card I drew for us as a unit this week is the Eight of Wands, which depicts no figures, just wands in the air, in motion. Much of the suite of Wands depicts conflict, and this card comes to us with immense momentum. We cannot see who is throwing these instruments: there are no faces, no expressions – only movement. There is so much going on. Ireland’s COVID-19 numbers are up. You don’t need a magazine tarot reader to tell you about #GolfGate, but look. I’m as demoralised as you are. I am trying to allow the chaos around me to at once remain at a safe distance from my weakened spirit, but also to use it for my resilience, for my momentum. Keep going, I tell myself. Keep going, I will say to you, too.
This is just one card from the story of our lives. We get more cards.
Now. Into your readings.
The Page of Pentacles
This is such an auspicious card, but it is also one that asks us to see ourselves as inexpert, as junior, as potential scholars. This can be a hard position to occupy: one where we accept that we have a way to go. It can feel deeply frustrating to not be immediately fluent with a skill we attempt to pick up for the first time. Committing to study, to improvement is demanding but learning doesn’t have to be labor, Aries, and I know fire signs are impatient. But the Page asks us to be patient. To be young in our new endeavors. What does that look like for you? How can you commit to the process?
I love when this card shows up in a spread, because it’s one of the few in the deck that signifies, bluntly, exactly what it says on the tin. I wish I was the kind of magazine psychic who had the confidence or nerve to say to you, there is romance in your future, Taurus – but we all know that reading reality out of bits of paper isn’t that simple. If at this time there is something brewing in these last, humid days of summer, please take this as a sign to bring your truest self to the table. Being open takes courage. Telling the truth is hard: it can be so easy to hide within social constructs and ritual. What would happen if you took out your heart and offered it?
The Queen of Swords
She’s a stern one, the Queen of Swords. She’s a leader: a person of power, but she doesn’t govern with her heart. Rather, she leads with her logic: her perception, judgement, and insight is crystal clear. She invites us to put our emotions aside and rely on our intellect to bring us through the situations we face: but we also need to ensure we balance this clarity and sharpness with a measure of compassion. She can be cruel, too, so this is a heads up to remain human, not just razor. Often, court cards refer to people in our lives, not just us ourselves. Who around you is your Queen of Swords? How can you ensure their sharpness doesn’t cut you down?
Ah, you love to see it, Cancer. Such a joyous card: a happy baby on horseback, loping through a field of sunflowers under a bursting, golden sun. Though this year has been brutal, this is a warm signal, inviting us to connect with the things that truly warm us. There is a freedom to be found in accessing, or creating joy: even during hard times, the joys we’ve experienced before can continue to warm us. How can you bask in the good, Cancer? What can you do to orchestrate robust, holistic joy – and share it with others around you?
Another Major Arcana card in this week’s spread, this one brings with it less simplicity than The Sun or The Lovers. The Hierophant, for me as a reader, always symbolises a leader – of moral ambiguity – who holds secrets, and with those secrets comes power. I invite you, Leo, as I always do when I see this card and similar cards depicting masculine, archaic figures in thrones: to rebel. To decide yourself where power comes from, to refuse dictation. How can you push back at the systems that would hold you in place? What power do these secrets have, really?
The Four of Swords
I think, saying to anybody in late stage capitalism, let alone during a pandemic, that you need to rest, is almost comically obvious. But you know this, Virgo. You know that the best work we do we do when we are asleep, when we allow ourselves downtime to process the waking world. Permitting ourselves space to just, do nothing, is kind of radical: and requires a surrender from the control we might be used to, or whatever halo effect stress can give us. How can you give yourself space to rest? How can you insist on it?
The Queen of Cups
Her counterpoint, the Queen of Swords showed up for Gemini in this reading, but Libra, this time around I’m going to ask you to listen to your heart, instead of your head. The Queen of Cups is about compassion and generosity of emotion, about listening to your intuition and emotion. This can be terrifying, really, listening to what we feel and letting that guide us beyond what we know. You’re an air sign, you’re a cerebral creature. But I’d ask you, if you can, this week to let your heart lead you. To lead with our heat.
The Five of Swords
This card comes to you from the absolute thick of it, Sagittarius. From the very middle of battle. A figure gathers weapons: conflict having taken a toll, they are unsure of who to trust. Fighting takes it out of you: as does competing. Who are you competing with? Are you in a hostile environment right now, and if so, how can you elevate yourself past pettiness and into a serenity, instead? The high road is exhausting, but far less than the route of ongoing wars. The five tells us to pick our battles: because there is a way to go, yet.
The Ten of Pentacles
This is a good one, Scorpio. Tens signify completion, totality – and here we find ourselves in the suite of Pentacles, which govern the material realm. This positions you at a point of satisfaction: of security, of family, perhaps even a point of handing on a secure legacy. However, if I know one thing about Scorpios (forgive me for generalising, I really try not to) – you’re not really the type to stay satisfied for long. Sharing the plenty you have will fulfil you more than the plenty itself: who will you call in to share your joy? Who will you invite to your table?
The Seven of Pentacles
Ah, this is a familiar one: sometimes I think my deck likes this card too much, Capricorn. You’re such a hardworking sign, so probably no stranger to the very particular kind of burnout this card signifies. The visual story here is about being sick of the work we have to do: about losing pleasure through labour and exhaustion. You are not the sum of the work you can do. Your worth is not based in your participation in capitalism: your personhood is outside your existence in the workforce. Persevere, keep your eye on your goal, but hold the knowledge that this is not the total of you, either.
As a water bearer myself, I was glad to see this card this week. The World is the roaring, glorious finale in the Major Arcana, signifying the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one. If this totality is in sight, push on. Keep going. Say the goodbyes you need to say to the chapter that is closing, mourn it, gather your belongings, and get ready to start again. What is next in the cycle for the Major Arcana is the zero card, the Fool. What, here at the end, would you tell yourself at the beginning? What new wisdom have you gained on your adventure?
The Two of Cups
This card, sweet water baby Pisces, is not unlike The Lovers, who we saw at the start of this week’s spread, for Taurus. This is a card about shared connection, about trust – and also about a celebration of this trust. The figures’ cups overflow and the spirit above them witnesses their communion: while this might be their first toast, it signifies a good commitment, equal footing and equal investment. This could be romantic, creative, or even professional: who are you lifting glass to, lately, Pisces? Are they meeting you where you are, too? If so, drink up: you will bring good times into the future, for each other.