Tarot for liminal times

The featured image is from the Dark Days Tarot by Wren McMurdo Brignac. [Image description: It is the Tower card, depicting a tall and solidly-rooted pine tree being struck into two pieces by a flash of lightning. Rain is falling from a big, gray stormcloud as small birds flock around, with a crescent moon hanging low in the sky.]

I am writing this during a liminal time: we are all walking an edge between what was, what is, and what might be. During this pandemic – a global emergency that is truly reaching into each of our lives to differing degrees – time is bending, surreal, ever-shifting. For many of us, this period of crisis is fraught with heavy emotions and also feels exceptionally strange. Anything I try to say feels a bit flat, too like an empty platitude, so I write with the intention to share possibilities rather than answers. Whenever I am overwhelmed or struck by spiritual mystery, I turn to tarot, so I am moved to share a few ideas in case any resonate. Connecting to our intuition can help us tap into our own inner wisdom and feelings when so much about the world around us is changing and transmuting.

Here are three tarot offerings that I have been using as we walk through the unknown:

  • Invite playful reflection through a daily tarot card pull. You could do this in the morning as a token to carry with you for that day, in the evening to wind down or spur further self-reflection through journaling, or simply pull a card whenever you feel called. The practice can be simple: shuffle until it “feels right” and select one card – then look at the card and allow space to receive your own intuitive insights, symbolic connections, and other information. (Don’t have a deck? There are many free online sites that will randomly pull you at least one tarot card.) I say playful because I don’t believe there is ever any “right” interpretation for a card, so give yourself permission to feel and think whatever arises in you. I also feel that your own innate understanding is the most important part of any interaction with the tarot, so please don’t shortchange yourself on this time if you plan to look up others’ perspectives on the card afterward. If you feel blocked or worry that you must just be making stuff up, you can try placing a hand on your heart and offering yourself a moment of self-compassion before pulling a card, perhaps even offering a loving counter-narrative, such as “I accept my own intuition without self-judgement.”
  • Call on a specific tarot archetype to channel what you need in this time. Personally, I have had the Tower on my heart since the start of this crisis, even placing this card on my altar about a month ago. While placing this card on my altar, I also wrote a short prayer to channel my intention that we replace what structures are beginning to crumble with life-sustaining, anti-oppressive, and healing new systems. For me, the Tower represents sudden, ground-shaking change; the collapse of all paradigms built on false foundations; dramatic renegotiation of power. Along with all of this rapid, unexpected change can come destabilizing waves of terror, grief, rage. The Tower also showed up in my life through an experience that felt very painful but also initiatory, where I was asked to cast off old, limiting selves and step into a more authentic (and completely scary) unknown. So many pieces of this resonate as we, collectively, grapple with how to navigate this immense crisis…which archetypes, either major or minor arcana, are resonating for you? You might envision a different way to channel a tarot archetype that feels right to you: dancing or embodying an archetype; painting or drawing your own version; acting out or writing an imagined conversation between you & an archetype…let your imagination flow.
  • Invest in a tarot card reading to access a different lens on your feelings and experiences. I find that when my mind and heart are especially full, asking someone else to give me a tarot reading helps me access greater ease and self-insight, helping to grab onto a few threads from the many messy loops of thoughts and feelings. Speaking aloud your intuitive insights can strengthen your felt sense of their resonance, while hearing your reflections mirrored back – paired with insights from the reader – can also clarify what you know to be true (or not) for you. The internet can connect you with an abundance of compassionate, thoughtful tarot readers, many of whom offer sliding scale access. If you are curious about a reading container that centers your own intuitive insights and weaves them alongside collective wisdom for each card, I would be glad to offer you a reading.


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