Yesterday was the autumn equinox. The day when night is as long as day. From today until March, days will be shorter than night.
Yesterday, I did a tarot reading. A four card draw with no particular question. The cards I drew were very relevant to how I feel about this time of year.
There are two cards, the six of cups and the hermit, which are both about the unseen, about going within, about going underground. They echo the turning of the season, the way nature is closing in and hibernating and plants are losing their leaves and focusing on their roots.
In a lot of tarot decks, the six of cups is about childhood, nostalgia, naïve happiness, and generosity but this has never been a meaning that has chimed with me. Instead I choose to look at it from a different perspective, asking myself what fuels me, what brings me to life, what grounds me. If you look at the image of the tree with it’s multi coloured roots, you’ll hopefully get a sense of what I mean. Where other people look to childhood memories to make them happy, I chose to look at anything which makes me happy, which feeds my soul.
I love that this resonates with how I interpret the hermit card. I feel that it’s about taking time out from other people’s thoughts and views and finding out what my own are. As part of my nature and writing project, for example, I’m doing a lot of reading and learning and watching documentaries which is great and I love it. But I need to ensure that there is space within that for me to mull over ideas, to form my own opinions and to draw together my beliefs. We live in a world where we get a lot of external stimulation, we take in a lot of information every day and that’s great. But we also need to balance it with internal stimulation and creating (in a very loose sense of the word) our own offerings. We cannot just take from the world, we must also give.
There is also an aspect of balance in the 6 of cups – the outer world of the tree mirrors the inner world of the roots. This reminds me strongly of the bear animal spirit card and the idea that there is a time for everything, but no time can be a time for everything. A link I’ve shared quite a bit is one to Terri Windling’s blog post about bears and it feels so relevant here.
For [Terry Tempest] Williams, the bear embodies “opposing views, that we can be both fierce and compassionate at once. The bear is above ground in spring and summer and below ground, hibernating, in fall and winter — and she emerges with young by her side.
The winter months have always been a challenge for me. I love sunshine, dry weather and warmth… now, however, I am learning to appreciate winter’s stark gifts: it slows me down, turns my thoughts inward, keeps me closer to hearth and home, strengthening the introverted side of my nature, without which I couldn’t write or paint. I am learning at last to follow the bear; to trust in the process of hibernation and gestation. I am learning patience. Slowness. Stillness.
All things have their season. And spring always comes.
– Terri Wilding
That all things have their season is a pertinent reminder for those of us who struggle with winter and the darkness. And this sentiment is echoed in the second half of my tarot reading with the Wheel of Fortune and the frog.
Both of these cards remind us that we live in cycles, like the bear, and we should embrace them rather than fight them. You feel the turn of the circle more if you are battling to keep it still than if you go with the flow of it. For me, this means accepting that winter means early nights and less activity and preparing for this. So gathering documentaries I want to watch and books I want to read, in preparation for days when I don’t necessarily want to get out of bed or leave the house.
And both of these cards, in reminding us of the cycle of life, remind us too that as Terri says, spring always comes.