Lessons from The Tarot: belonging to the world we long for
What the Tarot can teach us as we go about the work of living.
The Tarot is more than a way to find out if we should take a certain job, or stay with a particular lover. The Tarot is a guide to a healing future, if we let it.
Once again, in the US, we’re reeling from news of another domestic terrorist attack, this time a mass shooting in a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. Once again, we add to our grief. Here then, is the time to reach for whatever tools we have to find our way forward. The Tarot is one of those tools.
The Major Arcana cumulates with The World card in the RWS deck, and the Universe in the Thoth deck. I named card 21 The Multiverse in the Somatic Tarot because to me, the Tarot is a guide to an undetermined future, and how we show up to this moment, when the Major Arcana has completed a full cycle, will change how this next cycle unfolds. There are so many different ways we can live into the future. There is so very little control any one of us has on the specific events that will conspire, but how we show up to it is ours.
And sometimes it is easier to show up already beaten. The stories that tell me everything is broken beyond repair are heartbreaking, but they’re also familiar, and they also take the edge off of constantly feeling like I should be doing more. I mean, why do more if it’s all fucked anyway, right? Better to be numb. And as white folks, it’s far easier to be outraged in the safety of our living rooms of across our timelines than to actually do the work of creating change.
Years ago in Anchor Continuum, an ongoing somatic learning space I facilitate, we were exploring the difference in the words want, desire, and longing. If you scroll deep enough into my IG you’ll see some slides I put together about the etymology of those words, and what we’re actually saying when we say we want something, or that we desire something, or that we long for something. In those sessions, a truly lovely woman named Maryla Rose offered us this saying which I have carried with me since like one of those perfect pebbles you put in your pocket to rub away any worries:
We belong to the future we long for.
In our conversations in Anchor, we gave meat to the bones of this sentence, letting it mean that if we are reaching for what we desire, rather than pushing away from what we fear, then we are actively growing towards the future we long for, like a plant grows towards the sun. That imagery can lead to thinking of leggy plants that futilely reach for the weak light coming through a window, but it can just as easily give us the image of an acorn growing into an enormous oak tree, branches extending, changing the landscape with the force of all that reaching.
This morning, as I contemplate The Multiverse on the other side of a lunar eclipse, with yet more traumatic news across our timelines, while bridges collapse from icebergs melting and politicians send us emails scolding us for not doing their jobs and the greed of a few billionaires affects the lives of billions, I am thinking about the work of what it means to reach for what we long for. What it means to choose the future we wish to live into in all of our daily actions, including the way we think about our own lives and the stories we tell ourselves. Are we choosing to be present in this moment, with this breath? Am I able to soften my body to what is, to notice the ways I spring into defensiveness, the ways I look for someone to blame as a way to escape the grief that comes with living in this stage of an apocalypse? Am I willing to see the ways I play out the dynamics of domination and control within my most intimate relationships, and most importantly, how I play them out in my relationship with myself? Am I willing to reckon with the way I distance myself from those who cause harm, rather than use my various privileges in any way possible?
The answer, personally, is that I try, but I am incredibly imperfect at it. Even with all the somatic skills I teach and practice, I still get this wrong. And that, then, is the work of The Multiverse. To remember that every moment is a new opportunity to belong to the world we long for.
The Multiverse comes after Judgment, remember. The lesson of card 20 is to be discerning, but not judgmental. Let what is yours be yours, let what isn’t yours go. We can practice this in small, concrete ways by going through our closets and cupboards and donating what is in good condition but unneeded or unwanted in our own homes to hospice shops and resettlement projects. A bit of sympathetic magic, a literal release of energy that no longer serves us. It’s more difficult to do this in relationships, or with past stories of who we were, collectively or individually. But that is the power and the lesson of the Judgement card: let go of what is not for you, so you can move into the gates of The Multiverse with clarity on what you do long for. Belong to the future you long for, and nothing else.
These are a few thoughts, a grain of sand in all there is to be said about the lessons of the Tarot as a guide to a healing future. If you would like more, please be in touch. I offer personal readings, lessons and workshops on The Tarot and somatics, and The Somatic Tarot is available for sale and ships internationally.
Take good care, and be gentle with yourself