2022 got off to a rocky start for me. More than a week into it I am still saying "Happy New Year" to others while only just now beginning to feel it myself.
My year began with a dream I had on New Year's Eve. I remember feeling anxious in my dream, as if there was something I really needed to do, but I wasn't clear on what that was. At one point in the dream I felt certain that I had to ask someone's permission in order to go somewhere. I have no idea where exactly. I remember feeling nervous as I walked down a long hallway and knocked on the door of whomever had the power to grant me the permission I sought. The door opened and to my surprise in front of me stood... myself. A version of me that seemed somehow different, but at the same time very much the same. That is about all I recall before I woke up with a gasp.
As I took out the dogs and made my morning coffee, I reflected on the dream and what it might mean. I just could not connect with the idea of needing permission from myself. Permission to go where... to do what? I hadn't a clue. As I was thinking about it and drinking my coffee, I noticed my throat felt scratchy. I felt a bit odd physically, like something was not quite right. I chalked it up to being out too much in the cold wind over the holiday and the after-effects of a strange dream I couldn't make sense out of.
A couple days later thoughts of the dream faded, but the scratchy throat remained and other symptoms of the latest variant began to appear. Intuitively I knew I had been infected, despite my best efforts to avoid it and despite the fact that I had just received my booster shot 10 days prior. It seemed improbable but I knew it was possible. My brain wanted to dismiss the idea but my intuition wouldn't stop nagging me. I scheduled a test and waited for confirmation.
The results of the PCR test took two days to come in. I like to think that I am a rather patient person usually. But as the hours slowly ticked by I couldn't shift my focus away from what the results might say. As I sat there dwelling on it, I looked at the decks of tarot cards sitting nearby.
Whether or not one can or should attempt to read for oneself is a long time favorite debate in the tarot community. In addition, whether one should or should not do readings during an illness is also a common topic. I have to admit that I gave due consideration to neither. In my moment of need and worry and in isolation, I reached for my dear old best friend, the tarot.
Sadly, throughout this pandemic, there have been many within the tarot community as well as the larger metaphysical community who have been infected by the virus. As tarot readers and metaphysicists we are, of course, no more immune from this virus than anyone else. No one seems to have the precise magic spell, ritual, alchemical formula, mantra, prayer or tarot spread to ensure immunity. At least not that I am aware of.
But, to my way of thinking during my own encounter with this virus, that doesn't mean we should shy away from using the tools at our disposal.
The first thing I did was reach for the TARO-ROTA: Wheel of Life. I asked about my test results... what could the Wheel tell me?
It is actually the kind of question that, as a reader, I just don't like to be asked because it was a question born of impatience and anxiety. All I had to do was wait a couple days and I would have the answer. Nevertheless, I spun the Wheel and held my breath... it landed on The Moon card.
I sighed a sigh of relief and smiled and thought, "yes, The Moon... of course, The Moon!" It was as if I had called up a friend and told them my worries. And, in response they just empathized with me and said, "yeah, that sounds scary... not sure what will happen... just trust your intuition."
For me, it was the perfect card to come up. I suddenly felt less apprehensive and oddly, I felt like I was not alone. I reflected more on the Moon, not just the card but the actual moon above. I bundled up and went outside that evening for a quick dose of moonlight just in case there was a more literal message in that card. Perhaps a little lunar energy would be helpful. I thought it certainly couldn't hurt and getting some fresh air felt like a good idea. There was very little moon to see at that time and the air was brisk and unwelcoming. I went back indoors uncertain of what to do next.
Right on schedule, my positive test results arrived. I wasn't surprised as I was continuing to experience symptoms... annoying symptoms like sneezing constantly, feeling fatigue and muscle aches. Occasionally, I would experience more worrisome symptoms like racing pulse rate and chest pains.
I felt like my body was under attack. I felt like there was no treatment or cure that was accessible to me. I felt like I had to do everything I could to avoid going into our overcrowded local hospital. In some way, I think my old Army training kicked in. I took a somewhat militaristic view of the situation with a peculiar twist. I pulled out my arsenal and went to war against the infection with my metaphysical healing weapons!
I used all the tools I had handy: crystals, essential oils, a variety of teas, an enormous amount of vitamins, various fruits, and decks of cards. I petitioned the angels and called upon my spirit animals. I did tai chi movements to the extent that I could just to keep my energy flowing. I did crystal body layouts to keep my chakras aligned.
I can't say for sure what was effective and what wasn't since I used the "kitchen sink" approach. But I do know that I am grateful that I had the Tarot by my side.
Quite often the subject of "healing" comes up in reference to tarot and readings. But, what do we really mean when we talk of the healing powers of tarot? And, if something is healing, then why would we not use it when we are sick?
That was my logic and my justification to myself for doing readings for myself while I felt ill. I had never questioned doing readings for myself in the past. It has almost always been easy for me to not get attached to the outcome of any reading. But, this felt different, the stakes felt higher. I knew I was going to be totally biased. But I also knew I couldn't talk myself out of it.
So I decided to take a different approach to reading and interpreting the cards. I do believe the nature of the symptoms I was experiencing had an impact on the way I saw the cards. Rather than any set meanings coming to mind, it was the imagery of the cards that often meant the most. After that first reading with TARO-ROTA, I asked more general questions or no question at all. At times I just pulled cards as a sort of "check up" on how I was faring.
Since the whole experience started with a dream, it seemed logical to me to pull a card from the beautiful "In Dreams Oracle" by Boris Indrikov:
Reading the accompanying quote from Albert Einstein raised my spirits: "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." OK, maybe there would be some upside to this I thought.
I looked at the image and thought, "ooh nice, a unicorn... maybe that's a good sign." It was only later that a friend pointed out that it was, in fact, a dragon and that the figure in the image was transforming into it. Looking at it now, of course I see it is a dragon... but why did I see a unicorn? Was it just that is what I wanted to see... unicorns where there be dragons? And if so, what could that really mean? It brought to my mind that old expression about wearing rose-colored glasses.
I felt the experience I was having was getting surreal. So I decided to use the Surrealist Tarot by Luigi Di Giammarino, a new deck I had received as a holiday gift and one that I was looking forward to exploring.
I looked at the Wheel at the center and thought I should eat more fruit to improve my condition. The Page of Cups reminded me of all the people not wearing masks that I had seen around me while shopping for the holidays prior to getting sick. I saw myself in the Queen of Cups and just wanted to break free from my situation when I looked at the Fool. It wasn't a reading that gave me any specific answers, but I wasn't asking any specific questions either. I loved the artwork. But at that particular moment I felt a bit woozy looking at the cards spread out before me. I put the cards back in their box and went back to bed. It didn't feel like the right time for me to get to know that particular deck.
A couple days later I did have a specific question which I asked of The Prophetic Tarot of the Bible (by Giordano Berti, creator of the TARO-ROTA Wheel): "What can I do to recover from this virus?"
Seeing the Empress and the 6 of Pentacles gave me a real sense of hope that if I just kept up my self-care routine I could achieve the balanced state I felt the Justice card was promising me. The coins decorating the archway on the 6 of Pentacles reminded me of oranges. I took that as a sign to eat oranges. I wound up eating 5-6 of them over the course of as many days. I am not sure that did very much for my ailment, but they were quite delicious.
I am feeling much better at present for which I am quite grateful. Tarot turned out to be helpful and in its own unique way, a healing ally for me throughout this experience.
But, I am not sure that reading for myself while being sick is something I would do again. I think I was too invested and worried to have the objectivity I would prefer to have and I felt like I was trying, and at times not trying, to interpret meanings while in a very strange state of mind.
I feel I was lucky to get the cards that I did. In my post-reading, post-covid analysis, it occurred to me that things could have gone a bit south had I pulled certain cards like say the Tower card or the 3 of swords. I guess I will really never know. But, I realize now that the cards I did draw affected my emotional state. I think that is something worth considering when one is trying to recover from any illness.
Thinking back to my New Year's Eve dream, it makes more sense to me now and almost seems prophetic. I essentially gave myself permission to do what I have never done before, give myself a reading while feeling ill. It may be that in this circumstance, my subconscious mind knew what my conscious mind did not -- that it would all be fine and that overall it would be a truly helpful and even healing experience.
It seems to me that a bit of a disclaimer is appropriate here: I am not a doctor. I can neither diagnose nor prescribe. I offer absolutely no medical advice whatsoever in this column.
I am only sharing my personal experience. The only advice I feel I can offer from all this is to make sure your unicorns are not dragons and keep some oranges on hand!
I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2022!