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Smooooooooth: How creating my own spreads sometimes backfires – 4/22/2020

We've had a wet April, here in my hometown. More than wet, lately things have felt understandably gloomy. The atmosphere got to me one day. I felt unmotivated, uninspired, and un-everything, despite the long list of things that both needed to be done, and that I wanted to do. How do I break out of this funk? I asked myself, and I turned as I often do to my cards to help walk me through the gunky, gloomy, no-good-very-bad mess in my head.

Custom card layouts don't just appear fully formed in my head. When I can't find another way to answer my question, coming up with my own starts out looking like this:

A lot of talking to myself, in other words. Throwing ideas at a wall and finding out what sticks. The first reading I did for myself using this rough draft turned out to be a little more honest than I'd been prepared for.

(done with the Shadowscapes Tarot, by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law)

To sum up, "Honey why does it take a global catastrophe to get you to stop overthinking things and just go with the flow?"

Harsh, but fair. The Shadowscapes deck and I have been through a LOT of bullshit together, and they've patiently held my hand through making the same mistake several times. Reading myself with them is like a conversation with an old friend. But the layout itself still didn't feel quite right. I played around with it, and came up with a different version, which I've made much more legible for your benefit:

The readings I've done with this version have been much more clear. The reading I did today intending for it to be just an example was no less brutally honest than the first:

Whatever feeling or sense I have of waiting, of enduring my situation, won't last forever. Change (Wheel of Fortune, in the "Silver Lining" position) is going to happen. It's time to throw myself at a challenge, and really let it feed me (7 of Wands as the "Fuck It" card; The Sun as "The Rain" or "what is building up"). Things with the day-job have been challenging in that it is stagnant busywork, which come to find out, I hate. Whatever challenge I decide to tackle next, let it be one that helps me come ALIVE, rather than deaden my senses both physical and metaphorical.

Time and time again, my cards have called me out for my complacency, and urged me to do something different. It might have taken the aforementioned global catastrophe for me to finally follow through, but I'm here. I'm doing different. I'm listening.

Happy reading!

Card by card interpretation:

1. The Cloud: 4 of Swords - a respite, a chance to meditate on the challenge ahead before diving into an ordeal. The deep breath before the plunge. Gather your strength while you can, for you are going to need it.

2. The Silver Lining: the Wheel of Fortune - one of the 21 Major Arcana. The Wheel represents change: in circumstance, in outlook, in state of being. What goes up comes down, and vice versa.

3. The Mire: 9 of Wands - endurance, perseverance. It's tempting to put down your weapons and give up; you've come a long way, and you're tired, battered, bloody. This is the last leg of the marathon before the finish - don't give up too soon.

4. The Rain: The Sun - health, revitalization, happiness, realization of goals. Through your own efforts or through happy circumstance or perhaps a combination of both, things may turn around pretty quickly.

5. Play Anyway/"Fuck It": 7 of Wands - challenge, standing firm against adversity, sticking up for yourself and your principles. Now is not the time to be silent; once you speak up for yourself and your ideals, you may find you enjoy whatever comes afterward.

Bonus: Worst Familiar Ever

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