Past, Present, Future, Action: Four-Card “Yom Kippur” Spread

Besides marking the fall solstice, the beginning of autumn and the advent of the sign of Libra, today is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, a day devoted to fasting, meditation and prayer—a day devoted to taking stock of one’s accomplishments, shortcomings and transgressions over the past year and, as an act of atonement, pledging to live a more compassionate, forgiving and moral life in the coming year. As a tribute of sorts, I decided to lay down a simple “past-present-future” spread to see if the Tarot could lend me some insight into my past year, as well as providing some guidance for the upcoming year. Dealt right to left, these are the cards that appeared today:Screen shot 2015-09-23 at 9.36.52 AMCourt cards often refer to actual people, but in this case I recognize the Prince of Pentacles as the perfect summation of the past year for me on the purely material level: Somewhat dull and plodding, static rather than dynamic, and overseeing  a fallow field—more accurately in my case, a desultory financial state resulting from a lack of employment. Regular visitors to this site will know, however, that I’ve just started working again, and my “present” circumstances, as signified by the “wish card” Nine of Cups, would appear to offer all manner of opportunities. Generally, the Nines of the Tarot deck imply a state of isolation and withdrawal (each of them portrays a single human figure), and this could speak to my work as a writer, which of necessity requires time spent in solitude. Solitude does not equal loneliness, however, as the Nine of Cups reminds us—the figure depicted on the card doesn’t hoard his prize but rather appears to be offering to share his good fortune with us. In that vein, dear reader, I share my fruits of isolation—this blog—with you.

My future? Well, I recognize a trusted counselor and spiritual adviser in the Queen of Cups, but whether the card signifies a person or a state of mind, it suggests that my life will be most fulfilling if I am willing to dedicate time to thoughtful introspection and prayer throughout the year; the Queen of Cups is the psychic healer of the court cards, and whether that means I can expect to receive an “anointing” in this regard, any time she appears in a reading, she reminds us of the value of faith and metaphysics, and of the value of putting them into practice in our everyday lives.

Out of curiosity, I decided to lay down an additional card to signify an “action plan,” I know what the future holds, in other words—but how do I go about realizing it? Here’s the extra card that appeared:Screen shot 2015-09-23 at 9.37.43 AM

The Five of Swords is never a welcome sight in a reading because of its traditional meanings—defeat, desolation and ruin. Swords signifying the forces of perception and will, and the number Five symbolizing the five senses of man, the card shows us what can happen when the powers of ego are activated in the physical plane, and all the fighting and quarreling that almost inevitably results from this. Of course, this could simply be the Tarot having a little laugh at me for dealing “too many” cards—a common mistake that novice readers make—and if so, then the joke’s on me. On the other hand, since this card is meant to portray a “means to an end,” it could be serving as a caution, warning me not to let my ego get in the way of my dealings with people in the coming year. The card also suggests that when we are confronted with adversity, sometimes it is nobler to “lay down our sword” and walk away, as the two vanquished figures in the Five have done, rather than succumb to the arrogance and pride signified by the victorious swordsman in the foreground. We should be warriors for peace first and foremost, particularly on a day as hallowed as this. L’shana tovah to all.

Dante DiMatteo

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