There are some days you just can't even, and you aren't sure how to even start sorting it out! Those are great times to whip out your deck and create your own spread!
The last couple days I found myself pulling out my cards and looking at them with trepidation. I know how pithy and on point they can be and I just didn’t feel I could take the sass. I sat down this afternoon, holding the well worn leather bag in my hands and thought, I just can’t even, today.
My cards, being the Smarty McSmartass deck that they’ve always been, piped up, “Well then, how about you make up an, ‘I Just Can't Even, Right Now’ tarot spread? I’ve got you, on this, trust me.”
I groaned and let out a dramatic sigh (It actually felt good letting all that air out) but I agreed it was a brilliant idea. As usual, my Buckland Romani Tarot, socked it to me. It didn’t pull any punches. It threw me some shade but it also gave me a pep talk.
So here is what the spread looks like:
- Can’t Even!: What is at the core of my burnout or exasperation? What is the story I am telling or letting others tell me that is perpetuating this situation?
- Right Now! (Action!): Are there any actions I can take right now to improve or change things or do I need to take a step back or chill out for a while?
- I - Perspective: What am I missing? Is there another angle I should be looking at this situation from? Is my assessment of what I’m dealing with accurate or skewed? Is there something I can do to change my outlook or attitude?
- I - Self Care!: What can I do to nurture myself and repair so that I can come at this fresh, with more energy, clarity and hope?
- Even - Meditation or Lesson: Here is some food for thought. What do I need to reflect on? What do I need to know that will help me make a better decision? What knowledge will help me get unstuck and go forward?
- Can! Encouragement: What should I feel good about? What am I doing right? What do I need to hear? How about a nice little nudge! Give me some good news!
Why couldn't I even, today?
Process and Interpretation
When creating a reading, it's as simple as brainstorming a list of questions or placements that you think will best address the situation you want answers about. You can also decide ahead of time what number of cards you want to use, including whether there are any numerical significances you want to imbue the reading with. For example, if you are doing a reading related to your Oshun practice, you might use 5 cards, A reading for the month might include a card for each week, etc. After you have decided how many cards and what they will mean, play with the layout. You can make any pattern or shape that makes sense to you.
Looking at the overall picture, I’ve got two major arcana, two court cards and one minor arcana numbered card from each suite. As things go, this is pretty balanced elementally. I seem to be equally vexed and supported in my, “can’t even” issues: emotionally, mentally, physically and materially. Only two major arcana suggests things aren’t written in stone. The court cards, do not automatically represent other people every time they pop up, either. I often see readers try to force that in when it doesn’t fit.
Numerologically, I have some interesting repetition as well. I have a ten (reduces to one). Tens symbolize completion. Ones can symbolize beginnings. I also have a Page which symbolizes something new. I have a three. Threes are all about growth and often teamwork or group dynamics. I also have a knight which is really the one who carries growth forward and often inspires others to move forward with him. I have two fours which represent a stage of manifestation, but maybe not the end game. The cards seem to say this situation affects me in every area of my life and I would say that’s accurate. I also feel I am in a constant cycle of starting, getting things moving and having a bit of a win, followed by something throwing me rather roughly, back to square one.
1. “Can’t Even”- Knight of Chivs (Knives aka Knight of Swords)
The horse on this card symbolizes support. Even though I feel isolated, I do have strong support. I have a lot of issues around that though, so even with gratitude and appreciation comes shame and self criticism. And...SCENE!
How the BRT's Knight of Swords differs from the traditional depiction:
2. Right Now - Wheel of Fortune (Major Arcana number ten):
I also see this card as telling me that I should buckle up, because there's not a lot of action that I can take other than just reaching out to spin the wheel. Most things are completely out of my control. Spinning the wheel, in this case, meant asking for help even though I didn't want to, and seeing where the arrow lands. So far, the outcome has been a helpful one; not a reversal of fortune, the next card won’t be the sun or the world, but it was a stay of execution. I did get exactly the amount of help that I needed at the time to cover the things that were really dire.
It helps me to realize in a crisis that thing's do tend to work out, if not landing on fabulous, I will definitely be all right or at least not stomped on by a rogue elephant! I would certainly enjoy a turn of the wheel that resulted in a jackpot and I would definitely like to pass on the kinds of experiences that forced me to make a choice to either suffer or gamble, but I am grateful to be able to make that spin and have things turn out a bit better in the morning. I take this card as a prompt that I should continue to ask for help when I need it and be open to lucky solutions!
3. I / Perspective - The Emperor Reversed:
This was a bit of a hard one for me. I gotta say, this is not the first time I've felt personally attacked by my cards. I feel to some extent that this card reflects my personal need to at least appear to have my shit together, my aversion to showing weakness, and my flair for throwing unreasonable standards and harsh judgments at myself. I tend to feel responsible for everyone and everything!
I also have a history of male figures in my life who are stern, judgmental and controlling. Because of my vulnerabilities, physically and financially, I often find myself in situations where I have no choice but to be at the mercy of people like this. I'm not on an equal footing with people who have the power to prop up or completely derail my life.
The upright emperor is an empowering person who knows when to take charge, when to delegate and when to lend support. The reversed emperor can be a micromanager, an underminer, and a punisher. So, how can I be vulnerable without putting myself so heavily at risk? How can I keep these kinds of people from interfering with my growth when I may have no choice about sharing an environment with them?
Also, how can I stop being so judgemental and hard on myself? How can I get the support that I need both from within and without? This is well worth examining.
4. I / Self Care - Page of Koros (Cups):
This feels very obvious to me. My therapist has been after me for weeks about allowing myself some self care. “Work on your altar” she suggests every week like a squirrel with a nut! This card is recommending that I take a moment, look around, find some beauty in nature and breathe it in. Have a cuppa. Take time for myself. Allow myself to start a creative project I've been eager to dive into. (These blogs, perhaps?)
Even in a stressful situation, there are always bright opportunities and new things to learn. I should let myself feel like a girl instead of a grumpy sad sack. I also may want to look out for friendly messengers (like the rabbit) who will tell me how to run with my dream.
5. Even - Lesson: Three of Bolers (Wheels aka Pentacles) Reversed:
This is typically a card that illustrates building something in collaboration, however in the Buckland Romani Tarot, the Romani man is repairing a wagon wheel while gauchos, non Rom, look on. Are they admiring his work? Judging it? Mocking him? That's open to interpretation. He's the expert here. They need his skills. He works alone.
Reversed, Three of Wheels / Pentacles really seems to reflect doing something that is too simple for your skill-set or feeling underappreciated. It can also show a feeling of frustration because you either feel you always have to do things by yourself or just aren't getting the cooperation from others to get the job done. It is often a prompt to tell you to go ahead and ask for help. This very much reflects my state right now and one of the dilemmas that I have.
I had an experience recently when I needed to clear out a storage unit with a short deadline. Someone did offer to help me, but I ended up doing the whole job myself simply because I knew there would be a lot of time that she would spend standing around while I went through stuff. I also had a really specific idea in mind of how I wanted things to be placed in the new space and it just seemed more efficient to do it the hard way.
Fighting against asking for help is definitely a thing with me. Asking and accepting does not come easily. It makes sense that I would benefit from spending some time evaluating this situation and asking, is it really necessary or reasonable for me to strive to be completely self-sufficient? Am I allowing myself to perceive criticism and judgment from others when it might not actually be there? Am I not allowing people to help when they can and want to? Can I envision a balance of accepting help on some occasions while maintaining a general state of independence? What would that look like?
6. Can - Encouragement: Four of Koshes (Staves) Reversed:
This is a great card for this position, because it's still a positive card whether it's upright or reversed! Upright, there is a group celebrating together, but reversed, this card often is a nudge that one can achieve a bit of success on one's own, and be proud of it without making it a big thing. I think this might be encouraging me to find some joy for myself and acknowledge that even though it's been really, really, hard lately, I am still making progress and I should be proud of that.
I might want to consider an affirmation like:
I am doing my best. I don't need other people's approval to assess whether I'm doing enough for myself, whether I've made progress, or whether I should ask for, or deserve, help. I am worthy of praise AND assistance.
I really need to find a some nice sweet joy sauce to pour liberally over all this bitter, salty old humble pie I've been forcing myself to eat lately.