There are six cards in this spread and four of them are twos. Twos, especially in repetition, bring up themes of relationship and balance.
Tarot works when it asks more questions than it gives answers, and this month’s spread is asking about what makes relationships—with others and ourselves—balanced.
Each of us comes into adulthood with psychological “parts” that have developed in childhood as a response to the trauma of growing up with imperfect caretakers.
We might have a part that hides who we truly are, because it was not safe to be ourselves in the open. Or a part that avoids, because we were not taught healthy coping skills. Or a part that self-sabotages, because we learned that we were either undeserving or needed to stay sick or unsuccessful in order to fit in with our family of origin.
At some point in our childhood, these parts take charge as a way to protect the core or true self from getting hurt. When we get older and begin to do the work of integration and healing, we start to notice that the part that hides or avoids or self-sabotages has been running the show for too long. And that it has much more power than we would like it to have. The core or true self wants to take the reigns again. And this can be the start of a life-altering shift.
In traditional interpretations, Ten of Swords involves an ending. Perhaps it represents the decline of a particular part of the self that once ran the show, and is no longer in charge.
We don’t get rid of our parts. They don’t die. We just develop a different kind of relationship with them. While an avoidant or self-sabotaging part may have been in charge for some time, it is not too late for the healthy self to take back the reigns.
Remember, these parts developed to keep us safe as children, when we were hurt or wounded by the world around us. But we no longer need them to protect us. We are grown now. We aren’t “killing” or getting rid of these parts. We are just relieving them of a burden that was never theirs to carry. We no longer need them to take care of us.
Ten of Swords is followed by the Two of Cups, so it asks specifically about parts that have gotten in the way of emotional availability and healthy relationships.
Is there a part of you that avoids intimacy? That always goes for unavailable people, so that no one can ever get too close? That shuts down when conflict arises? That acts aloof or uninterested when it’s the opposite of how you genuinely feel? That pretends your needs aren’t as important as others’ needs? That habitually disregards the needs of others?
True emotional availability is possible only when we are honest about our needs. Even the ones that are ugly, inconvenient, or misaligned with our spiritual beliefs. If we are engaging with people who cannot or are not willing to meet our needs, it is not only them who are emotionally unavailable, it is us too.
Two of Cups reminds us that if we are not honest about our needs we cannot expect those in our lives to meet them. How could they, when they do not even know. If you wish to be truly available, be honest.
One way to be more honest about your needs is to examine your relationship with safety. Security is important to us humans. We are more creative, resilient, and engaged when we feel safe.
But Two of Pentacles reminds us that true security is a balancing act. We need to feel safe, but have a tendency to get a little bit too comfortable, and there is a fine line between feeling safe and feeling stuck. Compulsive safety-seeking can be problematic and limiting. The part that seeks safety over everything is maladaptive, it cannot run the show. Or if it does, there are consequences. The soul suffers.
Two of Wands is a cautionary card—an illustration of a person who has achieved all the material stability and security one could want, and then becomes utterly boxed in by it. Their need for safety has become imbalanced because it has overridden the need for learning, exploration, and growth.
Needs for security are unique to each individual. You will need to define for yourself how much safety is required for you to function at your best and when/if seeking safety has become problematic. It is something that you will need to negotiate with your loved ones as well.
Temperance is about flexibility and balance. Flexibility doesn’t mean you waver or backtrack on your needs, it means you be willing to make mistakes as you learn to advocate for them. It means you feel things that scare you (like guilt, or loneliness, or anger) and stick to your guns anyway.
You may be establishing a whole new way of being in connection with others. You might have always been a certain way, played a certain role, settled into a similar groove of behavioral patterns. But we are flexible beings who are, to an extent, malleable. We are very capable of change.
Change in your favor is 100% possible if you are honest about your needs, willing to prioritize your security, and up for challenging yourself when the undertow of the comfort zone pulls you back from opportunities to grow.
Of course, our capacity for honesty in relationships with others relies on how honest we are with ourselves. High Priestess represents an aspect of the Self that knows—even when that knowing is not convenient or in alignment with what the ego wants.
Anxiety can obscure our connection to the intuition, making it difficult to tell the difference between an inner knowing and an anxiety symptom. But there IS a difference between the two. And sometimes, especially for people with anxiety, balance is about re-connecting and establishing a relationship with the intuition, even though it has felt untrustworthy or deceitful in the past.
Tempting as it may be to reject the idea of intuition as something that is useless for those whose minds race and bellies hurt even when no real danger is present, it is crucial.
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