Tarot as a Tool for Trauma

Tarot has been helping me process my trauma. I keep pulling the moon card. Reminds me of Lana’s song, Wild at Heart, off her new album.

Once, someone on Twitter asked me why I did Tarot and if I believed in it. I think of Tarot as a tool and not as it may be portrayed in the media as a source of magic. I believe there are many sources of magic, and really all it takes to make something magical is belief and ritual. Our belief is firm and can change reality as we see it. So what is true except for our own perception?

Tarot is a tool because it helps me identify or name my emotions. When I can name my feelings and know what they are, it is easier to figure out the why. Why do I feel that way? What caused these feelings to arise? What do I need to do to help myself release these feelings?

Some people see the Tarot as a way to tell the future or predict what will happen. In my experience, that is not how it works. It sometimes shows me different paths I can take or the path I most want to take, but I have to walk it. I have to make the first step, change, do the work to get there.

Also, Tarot is an excellent tool to tell me what I already know, but I do not want to think about it. It illuminates the parts of me that are difficult to see because of trauma and my coping mechanisms. I’ve learned to deal with stress and big emotions by avoiding them. I use social media, drugs, relationships to avoid feeling and thinking about my feelings. I consume media for way too long of a time to make myself feel better. However, in the end, the feelings are still there, the task is not done, and I’ve wasted time binging Netflix.

For example, this week, we had a full moon. I have tracked my habits and found out I have more energy on a full moon, so I wanted to do a more significant spread than usual and journal about it. I was surprised by what I found.

I shuffled the deck and dealt the first 4 cards into a square, two on top and two on the bottom. It was interesting to see the connections between the cards, and they showed me an order of flow. The top two were both 8’s and so they were connected. Below the top left 8 was a 4, the emperor. 4 is half of eight, so those cards were connected. The bottom right was a queen, another “face” card. The emperor is like a king next to a queen. The bottom two were connected because they represented a duo, the king and queen, or two sides.

I’ve been teaching myself Tarot for about a year. I am starting to learn the meanings of most of the cards now, and I like to interpret them as best I can on my own, first, and then look up what they typically mean. After that, I write the essential info in my journal and the meanings that stand out to me the most.

I saw a clear path to where I wanted to be for my full moon reading. The 8 swords in the top left told me that I was navigating a release from constraints, and I needed to channel my creativity to release emotions. The 8 of pentacles next to it told me I was laying the groundwork for a stable future, another way of looking at navigation, one of the meanings of “8”. Both those things needed to happen for me to reach the next level.

To become the emperor, I would need to pay more attention to my productivity and schedule. I would need to release emotions and work hard to achieve order and structure.

If I release my emotions, work hard, and pay attention to my productivity, I would become the queen of wands, a creative, driven entrepreneur, confident in myself.

The queen of wands also has a strong personal meaning to me, it represents someone I care about. I know this because the first time I pulled the queen of wands, I felt an emotional reaction and thought about this person. The symbols on the card in my deck also remind me of them.

To me, tarot means validation and clarity. When I do tarot for myself, I often am shown the parts of myself I don’t like and I don’t want to see. But, those are the things we need to look at even if it is uncomfortable in order to heal.

What does Tarot mean to you?

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