I said it before, but it bears repeating: To all my female, black, brown, LGBTQ people still in shock: I feel the heaviness of your hearts. I love you. To all the Muslims, Jews, witches, and people of all faiths who are afraid: I feel it too. I love you.
This tarot spread was originally for me, but it didn't take long for me to realize that it was for you too. It explores the deep roots of election-induced stress, the best possible outcomes, and what to do next. I hope it gives you something you've been looking for. If you have any questions, you know where to find me!
Part One: Internal Conflict
Situation: Five of Cups
I couldn't have chosen a better card to describe the current emotional state sweeping the country right now if I tried. It's heavy, with a sense of deep loss. Like traditional version of the card, this man is dressed in dark colors, indicating mourning. Three cups are spilled and in disarray, and a storm is brewing.
Yet the message here is always: All is not lost. Two cups are still standing. It's less than what we had before, and it's good and right to mourn for what's gone. Things aren't going to go back to the way they were, maybe ever, maybe not in our lifetime, but eventually we must pick up what we have and carry on.
Astrologically, this card aligns with Mars in Scorpio. Mars is at home in Scorpio, but here that energy boils below the surface. It moves in the shadows, as we may have to for a time. If you need space to process, to go within and process. If you need to rage, that's okay too. Scorpio is rage, but it is also healing. Healing will come.
Challenge: Seven of Swords
This card indicates theft, deception, and betrayal. Here, we see hands picking up a group of swords by the blade, which is dangerous at best and stupid at worst. Indeed, we may feel that our country and our fellow Americans have done the same. The challenge with this card is moving on when there are so many questions left unanswered. How do we pick up the pieces of our lives when injustice has been chosen over progress?
The astrological meaning behind this card offers useful advice. The Seven of Swords corresponds to the Moon in Aquarius, which urges us to detach from our emotions as much as possible. Instead, focus on what long-term ramifications this shift will have and prepare for them. Aquarius represents humanitarian aid, so do what you can to contribute to people who will be most affected by this change (minorities, women, LGBTQ people, people of non-Christian faiths).
I do not want to sow seeds of unrest, but I do feel that this card indicates that there are many things still at work here that we do not know about. More information about the election may also be released during the next Aquarius moon, especially when it crosses Mars.
Root or Cause: King of Coins
When I saw this card, I saw Donald Trump. The King of Coins usually represents a literal person, often a businessman who treasures wealth above all else. President-elect Trump certainly fits that description. The card is an older white male, could embody the patriarchy as a whole. It's heartbreakingly direct.
Recent Past: The High Priestess
This may be the most multilayered card of the entire spread. My first thought was that this is Hillary Clinton. The High Priestess can represent the career woman who eschews traditional female roles for the pursuit of knowledge. She literally holds the law in her hand. The fact that she's veiled points to Hillary's tendency to hold her cards close to her chest. She reveals herself only to a select few.
Another interpretation is that the world is experiencing a spiritual awakening. The High Priestess symbolizes intuition, and this affirms that the veil is very, very thin right now. What I mean by that is we're more able than ever to listen to our bodies, the earth, and our inner selves. Bri Luna from The Hoodwitch describes it like this.
Alternately, this could be further confirmation of any illusions surrounding this election. I can't say what exactly, but something's up. The High Priestess reversed means not listening to intuition, so this could also be as simple as people ignoring the aforementioned spiritual awakening by denying that climate change exists or continuing to oppress minorities, women, and other groups.
Best Outcome: The Hierophant
Here, the older man opens up a box filled with light. It's enlightenment. I think the best we can hope for is that the King of Coins cohort gets on board with the world's spiritual awakening (read: gets woke) and progress resumes.
A common reading of this card is "faith in tradition," so I think we also have to hope that our government structures will do their job to preserve our rights. We can protest peacefully. We can speak out freely. These are traditions our country was built on, and that can serve us now.
Near Future: The Hanged Man
This is tough. I fear that this is not a good Hanged Man, as in, "meditate and burn sage and everything will be fine." If you look at the man in this particular image, he has been stripped of his clothing and hung upside down. The image of lynching is uncomfortably familiar here. This is without a doubt the racist vandalism and harassment that became one of Twitter's top Moments the day after election, the interviews now being granted to members of the KKK, and worse.
The day before the election, I had a long talk with my grandmother. She recounted a moment shortly after integration was rolled out in the 1960s in which a black female coworker asked if they could walk home from work together because her car had been destroyed by racist vandalism of this type. Windows were bashed out, and hateful slurs emblazoned across the side. Law enforcement were called, but they did not come. It has been nearly 60 years since this event, and senseless hate of this type continues. In this way, America has truly become The Hanged Man, condemned by its inability to see through the eyes of another.
In astrology, The Hanged Man correlates to Neptune, the planet of illusion. Things will get worse before they get better if we do not get Neptune tendencies in check: think privilege, living in a fantasy world, ignoring facts.
Part Two: External Healing
Self: Four of Coins
For many of us, the result of this election has brought us back to a primal state of survival. If you aren't familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs, look it up and start working on getting the bottom layer sorted out: These are fresh air, water, food, clothing, shelter, and believe it or not, sex. Many of us are artists or intellectuals, so we dwell our minds or what many would call the "upper chakras." Getting your base needs fulfilled may not be your comfort zone, but you're going to have to make it so for a while until things stabilize.
Traditionally, this card also straddles the line between making fear-based decisions and choosing options that you know won't implode down the line. Everyone's feeling that right now. Above all else, the Four of Coins is a proponent of good common sense advice: Don't be reckless, but don't do something that's going to make you miserable either.
Astrologically, this card aligns with the sun's entry into Capricorn, so we'll start to feel normal again in late December. It seems like an eternity now, but hang in there. You're so close already.
Environment: Four of Swords
It's not just you. Right now, everyone you know is trying to heal in the only way they know how: sleeping it off. We've worried ourselves sick, we've lost sleep, and we're crashing. Maybe some of you still can't sleep. Maybe you have nightmares (I do). Maybe you toss and turn. Whatever it is, sleep is the only thing that's really going to fix this garbage year, because that's when the body regenerates. That is what the Four of Swords means in its most literal sense. It's the healing process.
In astrology, the Four of Swords connects with Jupiter in Libra, which is Jupiter's current position. Jupiter is great energy for a quick pick-me-up, so channel those good vibes through Libra activities, like beauty, fashion, art, and music. Libra is also excellent for diplomacy, so if you're planning ahead for any holiday visits with family who have different beliefs than you do, take a peaceful approach, not aggressive actions.
Hopes and Fears: Page of Swords
This reminds me of the line in Hamilton: "Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?"
Allow me to explain. The Page of Swords is the essence of air, the element of communication, and your ability to tell your personal story. With the outcome of this election, we wish for a chance to tell the story of our struggle so that the deluge of emotions we're experiencing now won't have been for nothing. We're also terrified that, after this, no one will ever hear our names again. What we're really afraid of is being stripped of our identities. Whether or not that will actually happen remains to be seen.
Likely Outcome: Four of Wands
This Four of Wands is different from other Four of Wands. Typically, the Four of Wands shows a traditional home or marriage ceremony. This image feels more spontaneous to me. It's set on a beach, and the wands themselves are set at an angle, like spotlights. Four people look like they've broken out into a dance party, overcome with joy.
Joy is a strange image to look upon today, but hear me out. Ultimately, the Trump administration will teach all of us how to find spontaneous joy in the midst of sad times, where there seems to be none. We may have to sneak out and look for fun in hard to find places, but our sanity is fucking worth it. Staying alive is worth celebrating. You are worth celebrating.
Astrologically, this card aligns with Venus in Aries, so you'll feel this vibe settle in the next time Venus enters Aries—that's early February 2017. After a difficult few months, beauty makes its way back.
Part Three: What Comes Next
Whenever I do tarot readings, I check the card on the bottom of the deck to see what influences may be secretly affecting the situation.* In this case, I was in no way surprised to see Justice peeking out from beneath my hands. What card could be more influential in this particular situation? Often, the Justice card signifies literal court issues, in this case a presidential race fraught with an sexual misconduct, FBI investigations, and more.
Here, I have the strong sense that we see the shadow side of Libra: equivocating, sleazy dealings, corruption.
Adjustment: 7 of Wands
If you remove the Shadow card on the bottom of the deck, this will be the one just underneath it. It reveals what adjustments you need to make in order to get the best possible outcome. In this case, the Seven of Wands shows a man who's besieged on all sides by attackers, but still has the better position. He's going to win if he continues to fight a good fight.
Over the next four years, you're more than likely going to be in this character's position: Attacked on all sides, but still in a position of authority. Stay strong and don't give up. Hold your ground. Remember that this card aligns with Mars in Leo, and that you'll do your best when you give your anger a creative outlet through which to flow.