The Tarot is both a mirror and an evolutionary invitation towards change. Lindsay Mack offers us a guide to the so-called “scary” cards and reveals how we can use our decks to turn fear to medicine …
Fear is a highly unpleasant, but profoundly important emotion — one that deserves a place at our table of feelings.
Fear, when considered for what it is, can offer information, wise counsel, direction, and clarity on our deeper feelings. We don’t have to believe everything our fear communicates to us, but it can be transformative to hear it out. By doing so, fear can become an ally, especially when we understand the strength that can arise within us through working with it.
Fear has always been a very deep teacher in my life. I live with a long term brain condition. I’m a healthy and joyful survivor of extreme childhood abuse, and have worked through complex PTSD for most of my life. I have traveled through some of the darkest places a person can experience, and every time I take one of those journeys “through the woods,” I am shifted for the better, having gained deeper strength, trust, and faith, my fear shifting into medicine with wisdom to offer me. The more wisdom I cultivate through those paths of darkness, the more I have to offer to myself, my students, and my clients.
The Tarot is a profoundly useful tool to turn to in moments of fear, trauma and stress. It can help to contextualize what’s happening underneath our fear, and how it is trying to help us evolve. It can also bring a visual landscape to something that we may not be able to communicate or understand with words. Whether you are a reader or not, The Tarot can be a deep aid in moments of darkness.
There are six Tarot cards in particular that, when we look at them through a soul centered lens, offer a beautiful invitation to evolve through fear.
Read on for how use them as guides in our own journey, exploring what it means for us to shift from fear to medicine. You can also check out my brand new course, From Fear to Medicine: A Six Week Journey into the “Scary” Cards of the Tarot. The first class begins on April 22nd – find out more HERE.
// THE FOOL // Trusting The Invisible Have you ever been called to take a giant leap of faith with hardly any proof that it will pay off? If you have, you’ve been in the energy of The Fool. It is the invitation to jump into the unknown, and begin a whole new cycle of our lives. We are drawn to the edge of a cliff in this card, but it is up to us to jump off of it. The soul work that we are asked to do in this card is to trust ourselves, and trust the invisible.
To our brain chemistry, The Fool can feel like death, a loss of control for the ego. If we can move through this deep contraction with mindfulness, leaping into the unseen, the treasures we will gain will be priceless. We will begin to truly know that when we jump in The Fool, we will be supported. We will begin to trust our intuition, and we will be a co-creator in our own evolution and growth. Trusting the invisible takes deep work. The Fool is here to help us learn.
// WHEEL OF FORTUNE //Centering in the midst of change The Wheel of Fortune heralds the coming of great change, the marriage between our choices and our destiny. The change that Wheel of Fortune brings is always for our good. There is no “bad” turn on this card, and there is no reversal.
When we work with the Wheel of Fortune, we can never see the change that’s coming. It teaches us to root into the unknown, and to stay centered in the Wheel, rather than flailing on the outer edges. When we work with this card, we get to learn how to root into ourselves in times of change, staying calm in the eye of the storm. Beautiful wisdom for life.
// DEATH //Sacred Compost There is no greater metaphor for the Death card than that of composting. I eat you, then you eat me. Nothing truly dies in the Death card, just like nothing ever truly dies here on Earth. It merely changes form, becoming a different version of what it was.
The Death card is the transformation of something – a relationship, a thought pattern, a belief – into something new. When we work in this card, it is a signal that we are no longer being fed by something growing in the garden of our lives. It lets us know that it is time to pull the weeds up and allow it to become sacred fertilizer, encouraging the new things in our lives to grow. The work we do in this card is profound ego surrender, letting go of the things that are ready to go.
// THE DEVIL //Blessing the Shadow The Devil is an opportunity to look deeply at our shadow. Are we judging ourselves? Believing that there is something wrong with us? Are we spiraling into an old, destructive pattern out of fear or contraction? If we are, The Devil will let us know.
If we pull this card, it is a sign that we are doing everything right. The Devil always shows up as a little mindfulness bell around our expansion, letting us know that the brain is trying to pull us into some old, limiting patterns to keep us in what it perceives as safe and known. We get to drop into these patterns and say no thank you to the invitation, whatever it may be. By doing so, we liberate ourselves from believing that we are “bad” or “wrong,” to thinking that there is anything adverse about us for our desires or our anger, and allowing all parts of ourselves to just be there.
// THE TOWER //When Things go Wrong Everyone has experienced a Tower moment in their lives. It is a moment where it truly feels like everything has gone wrong – it can feel like we are living in a nightmare. A beautiful metaphor for The Tower is a forest fire. We watch everything burn, knowing that it is clearing the soil for new growth.
It is an intentional shaking of the foundations underneath us, all to help us grow, and shed some part of ourselves that is no longer aligned with our expansion. The Tower can be intensely uncomfortable, or it can be a very minor, internal experience. When we survive and move through Tower experiences, we emerge stronger, clearer and transformed, our lives shifted on its very axis.
// THE MOON //Floating in the Darkness In The Moon card, we learn how to hang out in the Void – no easy feat! Ruled by Pisces, this card goes as deep as it can go. It is an experience of truly not knowing where we are going next, not having any answers, and feeling like we are floating back into old, shadowy feelings and emotions. To experience this can be very uncomfortable, and can make us want to really swim to shore, to find the light, to get some semblance of clarity and direction.
But, the more we kick, the deeper the waves become. We eventually learn the most profound surrender in The Moon card, letting the darkness become an ally, learning from the quiet, tuning in with ourselves beyond the din of our ego. When the light finally dawns, we learn that we have been moving all along, allowing the currents to take us to our next destination.
Want to go deeper into these energies, and learn how to work with your own fear in a mindful, empowered way? Please join me for my brand new course, From Fear to Medicine: A Six Week Journey into the “Scary” Cards of the Tarot. The first class begins on April 22nd – find out more HERE.
Happy birthday, sweet Sagittarius! This cycle is all about expression for you, letting your thoughts, words, and heart be deeply known at any given moment. This energy could extend in many different directions for you, ranging from a new love to an expansion in teaching or activist work. No matter where this lands in your life, there will be an audience to receive the words you share, as this card is so much about the healing aspects of emotional exchange. Chance vulnerability, Sagittarius, and let your heart’s truth flow.
The world needs it, your heart needs it. It is a gift for everyone when you open up and let yourself be seen. December is the perfect time to do this on a whole new level. Six of Cups has a bit of an interesting reputation, and is often thought of as a card of nostalgia. We can sometimes swim far into the recesses of our old, happy memories in this card, propelled by the heartbreak of the Five of Cups, unable to be present in the here and now. It makes sense in certain cases, and definitely follows a known emotional pattern. But this is not your truth, Sagittarius. Six of Cups is showing up for you this month as a radical heart opener.
Its invitation to you will be to sustain that openness, that trust, that vulnerability, in spite of your past. In spite of the fact that you’ve been hurt, splintered, broken, and repaired many times. It is showing up for you this month as a beautiful nutritive to the heart, infusing you with the desire to express, to share, and to connect with the world around you, dropping your armor completely. There is something wonderful coming your way this month, loves. Stay open and soft; you won’t regret it.
How can you play more this month, Capricorn? A somewhat silly inquiry for the hardest workers in the Zodiac, I know, and yet the invitation to consider the question is here in a very strong way. December is a potently important month for you. You are sewing many energetic seeds during this cycle, planting many intentions for the year ahead. How are you making room for play in 2018? Does it have a place of importance in your life? Sink into these questions deeply, looking at the patterning of your life, and the value placed on work versus play.
Page of Cups is your archetypal teacher for the month ahead, and it will be wise to bow over to this little one, listening deeply to what it has to whisper to you. This card invites us to value and emphasize imagination, magic, play, joy, and intuitive communion as much as we might value our earthly goals and worldly dreams. It is what the Lost Boys are to Peter in the movie, “Hook”: helping you to remember who you are. You are remembering the “Pan” in you this month, Capricorn, the magical essence at the core of your being. This part of you is precious and pure, and can get pushed aside very easily in daily life.
It is incredibly important to make room for play and receiving this month. It is softening you, helping to redefine your relationship to rigor and work. It is helping to work and nourish a different part of your brain. It is helping to shake some of the seriousness out of you. It is helping to get some light in the cracks. Don’t worry about what you will get from Page of Cups this month. Just make room for it, and you’ll have everything.
Let yourself be cradled by mystery this month, Aquarius. You are moving through The Moon card, a deep medicine in the Tarot, and the best thing to do is to flow with its rhythms. The Moon is a beautiful card, albeit a powerful one for what it asks of us: surrender in the face of what we can’t see. Indeed, this card can feel like deep ocean waves, or like velvety darkness, much like what we find in nature at night. To feel our way in the darkness, we must go slowly, heightening our other senses, letting our inner compass guide our way home. It requires us to keep a clear head and courageous heart as we walk in the darkness, afraid of what might lurk in the shadows.
To see by moonlight requires the perception of the third eye, a deeper vision and direction. This is getting flexed in you this month, loves, inviting you to trust these other senses within you, letting you walk through the world with them guiding your path. The Moon, which is ruled by Pisces, helps us to feel the fear of the unknown, and walk into it with intention and willingness. December will be a powerful month to look at your emotions in a whole new way. When we travel through this card, we must do so on feel and sense alone.
It offers us the opportunity to trust ourselves and our intuition like never before. This is a deep journey of the self for you this month, Aquarius. The psychic treasures of this kind of internal walkabout are amazing, so seek deeply, walk far, and dive into the fullness of the void. There is nothing but light on the other side of the journey, bringing wisdom, awareness, experience, hindsight, and a greater intimacy with yourself to you.
The moment you desire to be free, Pisces, any locked door in your being will swing open. This is the transformative power of Eight of Swords, as well as the magical potential it will be bringing to your whole sign this month. December is a very powerful transit for you, loves, one in which you can genuinely get “unstuck” from any place in your life that feels limited, including that of your own mind.
In this card, we can often feel that we are trapped and caught, usually in a prison of our own making, although it doesn’t always feel that way. That is the trick of this card: we may feel that an external source got us into this, and that we need a external source to get us out of it. Shattering that illusion is part of the liberation of the card. How we got behind those bars is of little consequence. Eight of Swords invites us to see beyond the mind’s projection, to begin to ask deeper questions of our perceptions. Are we trying to smash down a locked door without checking to see if the window is unlocked? Are we asking for help, clarity or awareness in moments when we don’t feel that we can see clearly? Are we pausing to listen to our inner wisdom?
When this card arises, it is a divine whisper in our ear, offering up the phrase: “ it can be easier if you allow it to be.” How easy can you allow your life to be, loves? How deeply are you willing to trust beyond what your mind is projecting to you? If you are ready to look deeper than what you can see, and what you may feel is imprisoning you, you will already be liberated.
Change is at your garden gate, sweet Aries. I highly encourage you to put on some tea, and welcome it in. Whenever we pull The Wheel of Fortune, we can be sure that a big life change is at hand. It may not show up today or tomorrow, but it is most definitely on its way. We don’t ever need to fear this card—Wheel of Fortune truly does not bring negative change. It is ruled by Jupiter, after all. Everything that this card wants to give to us, at the core of its essence, is beautiful.
Our job, as human beings, is to stay the hell out of the way so that Source can do its thing. The key to doing so with this card is to stay present in our lives. When we are firmly fixed in the mundanity of this moment, the wheel of life can turn freely because we are staying out of the future. It is truly that simple—at least when this card shows up. The Wheel of Fortune is a wildly spectacular card, one that holds within it so much mystery, medicine and wisdom, and yet when it shows up in a reading, it can often feel like nothing is happening.
It is made manifest by our willingness to take responsibility for the present moment, which is the crux of this card’s invitation to you this month, Aries. Look around you, loves. Look at all that you have control over, and all you don’t. Don’t worry about where you are going, or where these moments are taking you. If you are honoring this moment, working through everything that is arising — the pretty and the ugly — you will be ready when the Wheel of Fortune fully lands in your life. You are changing, Aries. Welcome it.
Temperance is such an incredible and mysterious card. In some ways, it’s almost tough to break it down for a monthly forecast — it rarely, if ever, unfolds within a month’s time. Ruled by Sagittarius, it represents the sacred rebirth after the Death card, and the end of the second line of the Major Arcana in the Tarot. Temperance is highly powerful, potent, magical and life changing, but again, it is really hard to zero in on in a thirty day period. What I will tell you, sweet Taurus, is that when the presence of Temperance touches a reading, it does so for many months, if not a full year. It is a blessing, a sweet omen, and a signal that you are in some for cellular level shifts.
Know that you might not feel this energy in your everyday life in December, but you can touch into it anytime you like—the more you do so, the better it will be for you. Temperance is a reordering of the body, mind and soul. It is a deep shift of our energetic makeup. Expect to get worked on this month, angelically speaking. Trust it, and let yourself explore whatever arises with curiosity. This card also, like Wheel of Fortune, heralds a massive, massive life change—always big and beautiful. The only way that this change can take place, however, is if we are willing to surrender it to Source.
Temperance shows us that the spectacular and impossible can unfold, if we are inviting in support and help. It is the shift from ego perception to soul possibilities. This doesn’t happen overnight—and it might not even happen in a month — but it does happen with time, persistence and the willingness to try a new way of working with the world around you. Surrender to the magic, and some amazing things will begin to take root in your life.
I’m gonna say this bluntly (and with love), Gemini: watch your tongue this month. It’s not a warning, but a plea for those closest to you, a plea for those who rely on you. Five of Wands is a card that teaches us to have patience with big feelings. Whatever the holidays might bring out in you, be willing to take a breath and pause if tough moments arise. You may not be able to take back what you say in anger or frustration this month, so this is very important.
Mercury, your ruling planet, can be the most epically beautiful energy, gifting you the ability to be quick and ingenious with your words and ideas. It can also imbue you with the sharpest mouth in the Zodiac, which you largely have under control in your day to day. That may get tested this month in the fiery Five of Wands, so be willing to really lean into your practices, and give yourself (and your loved ones) the gift of fearless honesty and compassion in your communication. Rather than yelling, it would be better to take a breath and state that you’d like to yell, but are working on not doing so.
This differentiation is how we can elevate Five of Wands from a contractive energy to one of wisdom. It is also how you can work with the upcoming Mercury Retrograde in a way that brings about grace. Take responsibility for your inner realm, and be willing to communicate about it to the people around you. This is your medicine for the month ahead. Breathe through any big impulses, use your words kindly and thoughtfully, and you will move into the new year with a ton of gratitude and peace.
You are right at home with the energy of The Empress this month, sweet Cancer. The Empress represents the Sacred Mother. Ruled by Venus, this card imbues us with a flush of sensuality, and an invitation to reconnect with nature and our loving, sexual centers. It is definitely a beautiful energy to end a year in, and an equally beautiful one to guide you into a new cycle. The presence of The Empress is heralding a new flow for you, Cancer. It is a true shift to a more receptive way of moving through your life—a way that is second nature to you as a water sign, but perhaps not one that you regularly employ.
This is a rest and review time. It is a time to sleep a little later, to become a little quieter, to make things around you a little more beautiful. Orgasms, beautiful food, and long walks are all highly encouraged for the month ahead. If any feelings of discomfort arise around this level of lushness with your life, that is probably where The Empress is doing the most work for you. The greater the discomfort, the greater the potential for growth and evolution will be. We just need to say yes to the invitation.
Feel into the medicine of The Empress this month, Cancer—potential triggers and all. The Empress, for all her beauty, can bring up a lot of funky stuff. If being receptive makes you feel selfish, that’s where you will do some deep work this month. This work is important, not just for the month ahead, but for your year ahead. As you expand in 2018, there will be a need to become more comfortable with receptivity. Trust that and let it take you deeper.
Sweet Leo, if one were to take a flying, courageous leap off of a cliff, would it be wise to attempt to spin around in midair and try to cling into the edge? The head might be saying yes, but your courageous heart most definitely says no. The intersection of the scared brain and fearless heart is where you will find yourself doing some deep work in December, all energized by the medicine of Starseed, or The Fool.
When we commit to a leap of faith, or a big decision, it is extremely important to watch any areas where we might be tempted to twist ourselves around out of fear or regret. It sends some very mixed messages, energetically speaking, which only creates more fluff and confusion for us as we expand in and on our path. Anytime that we take a leap of faith that is blessed by The Fool, it is larger than the decision itself. It is a commitment to ourselves, to our soul paths, to beginning a new cycle in our lives. It is totally fine to experience doubt and fear—it is when those feelings begin to bleed over into our words and actions that it becomes important to recenter, letting go of the edge of the cliff.
Trust yourself and your choices, sweet ones. Embrace the freefall. The Fool is here to support and gently remind you that you made the right choice, or will make the right choice, if that big leap is forthcoming for you. The reversal speaks to the fear that may be creating some stagnation at the top of the cliff. This is easily clarified by looking deeply at the root of whatever fear we are experiencing, rather than letting it stop us from moving forward. Trust yourself and your choices, you are exactly where you’re meant to be.
You are in The World this month, sweet Virgo, and it is glorious. This has been a year filled with change, new opportunities, and massive life shifts for you, much of which is going to give way to new blessings and expansions in 2018. It may not have felt like it, but in many ways you have gotten much of what you’ve wished for this year, which I encourage you to honor and celebrate. What you didn’t receive is well on it’s way to you, all in good time. Now, you get to ride 2017 out on the amazing wave of this card, ushered into 2018 on a whole new level. You couldn’t align the timing more perfectly.
The World card is the last card of the Major Arcana. It is ruled by Saturn, and represents the joyful and bittersweet end to an intense cycle, usually one of extreme lessons, and very hard work. When we reach The World, it means that we have done everything we said that we would do in that particular karmic phase. It also means that we are ready to move forward into something completely different, new and fresh, all borne from what we learned in the past year. When we receive The World card, whatever we are leaving behind is something we will never, ever revisit again. Ever. We are totally finished learning about whatever we moved through.
This can be both amazing and sad, as we grieve what we are leaving behind, even while we may walk forward with excitement. Take a moment and reflect, sweet Virgo: what old patterns have you had to repeat this past year? Whatever it was, you never have to touch on it again in quite the same way. There are new mountains to climb, and a whole new Fool’s Journey to move through. Bless what is leaving, and take the first step forward.
Speak your truth, loves! You have so much to say, so share it openly, brazenly and freely. The world needs it, whether you are getting that direct feedback or not. King of Swords is a divine communicator, a leader who has a truth to speak that brings a deep transformation and change for everyone that their words touch. It is not always easy to speak the truth that King of Swords holds; it is a deep task, given to those who can deeply see injustice, imbalance or areas that need to be recentered.
Where you deliver these words this month remains to be seen, loves. Just keep an open heart. You might offer them to your clients, or the community that you work or live in; your sacred truth might be directed at your ex or current partner, it might be offered to your children, or it might need to be heard by your parent, or family or origin. No matter what, trust the words that are burning within your heart. December is the time to let them be channeled through the voice and throat, letting them touch everyone who is meant to hear them. Let this be a sign for you. If you’ve had a piece of writing within you, write it.
If you have a podcast, or want to start one, this would be a golden moment. You have the potential to really charge ahead into your new year, more confident and clear than ever before. This card is so powerful, in fact, it ripples out to our casual communication. Watch what you say this month. Let it be truthful and heart centered, even if it’s blunt. The world needs your word now and always, Libra. The timing is exactly right, so bring it forward.
Plant your two feet on the ground beneath you, Scorpio. Trust that you are supported. You are exactly where you are meant to be, and your life is unfolding at exactly the right pace and timing. It’s perfect, and you are doing precisely what you should be doing. The other shoe isn’t going to drop—in fact, there’s never been another shoe. Everything in your life is serving some purpose in this moment, teaching you something powerful, even if it isn’t immediately clear to you. Don’t stress about whether you can sustain your current path, or whether you can trust your current path. Don’t stress about what will be.
Any moment that you place your profoundly powerful focus on the future, you’ve left the present. This moment is all there is; there is truly nothing we can place our trust in more than the here and now. King of Pentacles is very advanced medicine, and it is here to prove and support the above statements for you this month. I’ve always felt that King of Pentacles was, in a strange way, the last card in the deck. It brings a real master’s energy when it shows up in any reading.
For you, Scorpio, it’s bringing two big invitations: 1) to make room for greater abundance in your life going forward, and 2) to trust the path that you are walking at this moment in your life. King of Pentacles knows his dharma. He understands why he incarnated here, and he knows he is inherently worthy. Receiving this card in a reading means that he is working this magic in your life, helping you to understand why you are here, that you are worthy, too. This work is going to carry you into 2018 with so many expansions and gifts—let it in, starting with the present moment.