I’ve been working through a book by James Ricklef called Tarot: Get the Whole Story, which outlines how to create your own tarot spreads with plenty of sample readings by the author. I’m really enjoying the book thus far, and last night I felt drawn to do a Yin/Yang reading for myself.

The situation

For one of my businesses, I had recently launched a new product, but it wasn’t selling as well as I’d hoped. I found myself stewing over this throughout the day, until by evening, I was in a cranky, sensitive mood. So my question was about this work situation and the lack of sales.

For this reading I used one of my primary decks, The Witch’s Tarot.

The reading

Here are the cards I dealt:


In each position, then, I dealt the following cards:

  1. The Five of Pentacles reversed
  2. The Chariot reversed
  3. The Five of Wands reversed
  4. Death

I like to start readings by letting observations or thoughts flow freely before I delve more deeply. For my initial observations, I see three reversed cards; in fact, the only card not reversed in this reading is Death. The two Minor Arcana cards are both fives, and each Minor Arcana card is paired with a Major Arcana card.

Here’s my initial thought stream: The fives are cards of conflict or loss, which is consistent with my perception of this situation, and it’s striking that they’re in suits that relate to practical matters (this is a question about work) and creativity and will (this is also a question about a creative project that I brought into existence through my will). This situation is definitely messing with my desire for control (the Chariot) and something’s gotta give and change for this to be resolved (Death.)

Looking at individual cards

five of pentacles from the witch's tarotBeginning with the reversed Five of Pentacles in a position that answers “What do I need to release?” this seems a rather clear suggestion that I let go of my cyclic worrying about how much money I’m currently (not) making with this project. There are many ways that I could interpret the reversed aspect of this card that here but most notably these two: the reversal speaks to an internal blockage or resistance, and I’ve swung to an extreme in this area.

This situation brought up a lot of my money issues (which I will talk about in a future post in the context of a Celtic Cross reading I did recently), and these issues tend to throw up internal blockages left and right until it’s hard for me to see the situation clearly and it’s easy for me to fall into habitual patterns of responding, e.g. wallowing in obsessive worrying, becoming incredibly pessimistic, and seeing things through an extreme black-or-white, success-or-failure lens.

the chariot from the witch's tarotMoving on to the reversed Chariot, my immediate reaction to this card was a recognition of my perceived loss of control, some of which is quite accurate because, to a large extent, there is much about this situation that is outside of my direct control. As a recovering control freak, needless to say these situations don’t always sit well with me, and I often use worrying as a way of fooling myself into thinking that I can control things simply by virtue of obsessing over them long enough and hard enough. (Spoiler alert: this doesn’t work. 😉 )

In the position of “what do I need to hold on to?” I feel that this card speaks to a need for acceptance of limited control in this situation. I’m reminded of a saying I heard from a wise friend, “Don’t just do something, sit there.” This seems particularly apt in this situation, because I can feel that my body, mind, and soul need a break from this project, and I need to focus on something else for a bit to recharge.

The Five of Wands reversed speaks to my internal state of conflict, and in this position, which is meant to give me further understanding of the situation at hand, my intuition tells me that this card is pointing out the distinction between the actual facts (i.e. I released a product and sales are nfive of wands from the witch's tarotot meeting my expectations) versus the story lines I’m layering on top of this reality (e.g. “My product totally sucks,” “No one is ever going to buy it, and I’ve wasted all this time,” “I’m never going to regain my passion for the project after this”).

The reality of the situation is that this isn’t the end of the world. I have another business that is doing wonderfully, so I’m not going to be missing rent or eating ramen this month if the product doesn’t sell right away, but my mind is busy spinning another story, and that, more than the actual situation, is what is causing me so much grief. Again, I am taking the reversal as indicating that this card is dealing with an internal rather than an external state.

death from the witch's tarotWhich brings us to the last card, Death. Here, Death is in the position of “What action can I take to resolve this?” and it’s interesting that this is the only card right-side up. Death in this position seems like a clear call for change, and my intuition is that this change is not only internal, requiring that I change my perspective and ditch the compulsive worrying as we’ve talked about above, but also external.

In finishing this work project, I now have time to focus on things in my other business that I’ve been longing to devote time to for ages. In light of this reading, this seems like a good idea on multiple levels: it will help take my mind off of the problematic situation and hopefully give me perspective so that, when I do return to it, I’ll be able to approach it in a different way.

Questions inspired by this reading

  • If you’re involved in an unhappy situation at the moment, what stories are you telling yourself? Can you make a list of things that are inherent to the situation (“Kayla didn’t return my text”) versus meanings that your mind is adding (“Kayla prefers hanging out with our other friends much more,” “Our friendship is slowly falling apart”)?
  • How do these story lines make you feel?
  • Can you begin to acknowledge the stories you are telling yourself and set the intention of releasing them?

Final thoughts

One of the most empowering things that I have learned through meditation and Buddhism is how to recognize when my mind is stepping in and story telling. This is a process, of course, and there are times when I am better able to do this than others, but when I can see my stories, I feel a world of choice opening up.

For example, in the situation of today’s reading, by seeing the stories my mind is spinning I now have the choice to continue to wallow in them, eroding my mood and self-confidence, or I can thank my mind for sharing and acknowledge that all I really know right now is that this product hasn’t sold yet. That’s all. I don’t know what this means about the product or what it means about me (if anything).

And by stepping away from the stories, I am better able to connect with my body and emotional experience in the present, both of which are sending me the unambiguous message that I need some space from this project and something new to focus on.

Wanna know something else? I’ve been thinking about creating the Yogi Witch site for quite some time, and this reading gave me the push I needed to try something new. I feel better already, and while I know I need a bit more time away from the project in question, so much of my angst and stress has faded that I’m confident I can approach it with a clearer head in the near future.