When I first began to teach myself Tarot, some 50 years ago, I bought myself the Ryder-Waite deck (there were only a few decks back then) and a copy of Eden Gray’s Mastering the Tarot.
There was no internet, barely any books to learn from, and, only if you lived in a larger city, no one to personally teach you Tarot reading – or any thing else of an occult nature for that matter. So, I immersed myself in this book. Today, I still consider it one of the best books for beginners on Tarot reading.
Card by card, it gives you a picture with description of each card, then a meaning for upright and another for reversed. When you get to the meanings of the Major Arcana, it adds what it could mean based on where it’s located in a reading. Finally there are general observations on both the Minor and Major Arcana and different methods of reading them.
Because I didn’t yet trust my psychic abilities, I learned the meanings when I began. It didn’t take me long to discover a few things. For one, I didn’t have to have a card reversed to get a meaning that related something of a less than positive nature, so I started keeping all my cards upright when I shuffled and read them. I even learned to instruct those I read for how to shuffle the cards so they remained upright.
The second thing I noticed was how my eyes and my attention would be drawn to objects behind the main objects and people in the foreground. I found that sometimes those things were more important to the reading than the actual meaning I’d learned from Eden Gray. Thus began my experience of reading with a combination of literal meaning and psychic interpretation.
That brings me to card #17 of the Major Arcana in that Ryder-Waite deck – The Star. The keywords given to represent this card are: Hope, inspiration, health. The actual definition of the upright card speaks of gifts of the Spirit; health improving; unselfish aid, etc. Of course, the reversed meaning relates energies of doubt, pessimism, loss of friendship or love, and the chance of physical of mental illness. The background of this card is blue and that always spoke to me of ones emotions. That’s what I really want to talk about.
When I used to read for the public, this card frequently came up in the readings of people, mostly women, who had spent a great deal of their lives giving to others in one way or another. While the literal interpretations somewhat fit here, I usually found my eyes and attention would be drawn to the woman who was pouring water both in the pool and onto the land. The question would arise in my mind as to whether these people were giving equally to themselves as they were giving to others? Had they lost hope because it seemed all they did was give of themselves to others? Did they feel resentment at having given so much and now feeling exhausted, empty, and used?
Altruism, the unselfish concern for the welfare of others and giving of self to aid others, is good only if it is kept in balance with giving to oneself as well. Somehow, in the training and programming of this culture we live in, we are only taught the first part – the unselfish concern for and giving to others. Almost no one ever teaches anyone the importance of the second part.
What happens when this woman, pouring from the urn and the pitcher, runs out of water/liquid? She has nothing left to give. Her resources are diminished and, unless she’s able to replenish them, of what purpose is she to others and, more importantly, to herself? She’s left empty and without hope.
Many of us are just like that woman. We give and give and give to our family, friends, our jobs, etc., until we’re exhausted because the one person who needs us the most and isn’t even on that list is…us. We feel exhausted, maybe even resentful, we may lose hope and feel pessimistic toward our lives and those in it, but we fail to see there’s a simple solution – you can’t give more than you have. When your resources (energy, patience, etc.) start running low, we need to remember there must be time for us to replenish those resources.
Well, that seems simple enough. Then, why don’t we do it? Could it be some kind of guilt-trip laid on us by those who taught us in the first place? “You must always give to others, no matter what.” Was that the message which now may be unconscious, but still speaking to us when we really would like to just sit down and close our eyes for a while? I’m not a betting person, but my money’s on that being a truth for many of us.
So what does one do to change that? First, realize it’s not selfish to want some time for yourself. Then recognize that it really is a necessity, not only for you and your well-being, but for the well-being of those you want to continue to be there for. Balance becomes critical – giving as much to yourself as you do to others. Will making the change be difficult? Possibly. Let’s face it, this, like anything else, is a habit. It’s one you’ve been automatically doing for years, decades even, and that will take time , determination, and persistence to break.
Hope…the energy that makes us feel alive and makes the future seem brighter. Like all the positive energies, there’s more than enough for everyone. We just have to be open to receive it. If you’ve been forgetting to give to yourself as you give and give to others, know that you can get back to Hope, healing your body, mind and spirit, if you only decide that it’s time to include yourself in your own generosity on a regular basis.
“If we will but listen, the Truth will unveil itself in the silence.”
Love & Blessed Be