Let's take a look, for a moment, at an affirmation I read today that struck me as beautiful and appropriate for Tarot therapy:
'I leave this relationship with an appreciation for the impact it had on my life.'
This statement has a resounding healing quality within it. When we look upon all experiences as potential lessons, we get to know how great it feels to see the positive times as rewards for the work done during the negatives times. When we leave a relationship, we usually do so with a certain amount of baggage and when we arrive at the new place we have two choices - we can either unpack and sort through the baggage or we can put it at the back of the wardrobe and forget about it. Of course, the former course of action is always the more advisable. Prolonging the work we need to do to tidy and organise the mess that's been made means we'll always have it at the back of our minds and will probably end up having to address it at a less convenient time in the future.
So, what kind of advice and guidance can the cards offer when we leave a relationship? Taking a look at the four suits of the Minor arcana and how they address different themes and areas of life, it's obvious that they can be used to break the relationship down and analyse it for lessons.
Take a look through the suit of Cups first of all. Cups deal with the emotional realm. The suit asks us to examine how our emotions shape our decisions, how healthy our connections are and what we give and take in relationships with others. As you look through the characters and symbols, consider the element of water and how it perfectly symbolises the ebb and flow of the emotions as they pass from one state to another, sometimes turning to ice or steam, sometimes slow moving and placid, sometimes tidal and destructive. Certain card meanings will force you to address questions regarding how the relationship has affected you on an emotional level. Try these questions, considering or writing down your answers:
- how do the memories and feelings about the relationship affect you right now?
- how can you move forward?
- which emotions are justified and which don't make sense to you?
- do you worry more about what your ex-partner is feeling than you do about your own feelings? Why?
- how can you nurture your emotions and appreciate your own right to heal?
The suit of Pentacles deals with practical, earthly matters, and it's a perfect suit for entertaining thoughts of moving forward, being proactive and creating something lasting for yourself. Go through the Pentacles suit, considering firstly what was built and lost during the relationship, and then how you're going to instigate a plan of action for future change for your own benefit. Ask yourself the following questions:
- was the relationship realistic and down to earth?
- is it important to you that any partner you have should share your goals?
- what are the next steps for you now in order to secure contentment?
- which qualities do you have at your disposal in order to glean clarity and move forward in a positive fashion?
Using the suit of Wands to consider spiritual and creative endeavours is great for thinking up different ways to use the pain and loss of a failed relationship as fuel for projects borne in the imagination. Self-love and self-discovery can also be prevalent themes here. This suit is concerned with energy, action and independent initiative. Go through the suit of Wands and consider the element of fire, how it destroys and cleans everything, how it warms us but also the danger it entails. Ask yourself these questions:
- what would be the best way to express your emotions outwardly?
- how can you use the relationship break-up as a spring board into a journey of intense self-discovery?
- what are your needs and how are you going to ensure they're met?
- what needs to be left behind and what can be used on the next part of your journey?
Swords make up the suit of intellectual concerns, conflict and resolution. Problem-solving using determination and rationality is a key theme. As you look through the suit of Swords, think carefully about the ways in which you have used diplomacy, perspective and inner strength to combat your issues, particularly your problems with others. Answer these questions honestly:
- do you genuinely know the difference between anger and bitterness?
- how can you express your anger productively and then let it go so that you can feel sorrow and acceptance?
- what have you learned from the relationship with regard to your strength and ability?
- what couldn't be resolved between the two of you and what can be resolved in your own mind now?
Now, let's look at the guidance given by the Major arcana. These 22 cards form the backbone of the deck, from which all the other messages branch out. The archetypes and themes inside the Majors are representations of the events and emotions we all experience. They are illustrations of the collective unconscious. Let them guide you in and around the most important elements of the relationship - the high points, the low points, the most significant lessons you've taken away from it and how to use them to go on with your life in accordance with your own personality, goals and beliefs.
What has changed as a result of the relationship? What has stayed constant and unchangeable throughout? Perhaps the appearance of the Temperance card is reminding you to look at the relationship with a fair, balanced viewpoint. The Chariot could bring up feelings of being alone after so long making all of your major decisions with someone else - does regaining total control feel empowering or scary for you? The World is a card that salutes you as you tie up loose ends and move forwards. The Fool is telling you to leave your baggage at the door and venture forth as if you've never been hurt, grabbing life's opportunities and letting go of resentment. Perhaps The Emperor will help you to consider if you're being too rigid or holding on to bad feelings in a negative manner. Maybe The Star will remind you to be hopeful and light-hearted.
Whether you use the cards to read for querents or for yourself or you employ a Tarot reader to gain clarity, readings should always be based around a particular intention. Decide what you most want out of the reading before beginning.