Graduation SZN | Part 2 – The Tarot Edition

It’s truly remarkable how quickly one’s life can change in the span of a few days or weeks. If I had to pick a tarot card to sum up my life since my last Graduation SZN post in May, I would choose The Tower. The Tower card emerges when monumental life events disrupt our mundane existence. Sudden change erupts from both the undesirable like death, illness, loss, and hardship as well as the desirable like births, breakthroughs, wins, and awakenings. My most recent tower moment was a combination of both these welcome and unwelcome experiences.

The Tower from the Rider Waite tarot deck

Crisis induced a cataclysmic shift in my relationship dynamics as well as roles and responsibilities. I woke up one morning and my eyes were open to a new reality where my near and distant future was entirely unknown. Over the past few weeks I have awakened from the illusion that our lives are predictable and that the present state of affairs will remain. This is what I would call a 7 of Cups moment where we have to decipher the narratives preventing us from seeing something for what it is and impeding us from making the choices that will bring us true fulfillment.

7 of cups from the Rider Waite tarot deck

The beautiful thing about tower moments is that they can help clear the fog that previously obstructed our vision. When pressure is applied to our relationships, our financial situation, and our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, we see what aspects of our lives crumble. We realize what we once thought had a firm foundation actually was frail and faulty. I have been through the wringer, but this experience has shown me the danger of living in the fantasy of someone or something’s “potential” rather than assessing whether I can accept a relationship, a behavior, or a situation as is.

This is a lot easier said than done, especially if you’re dealing with a mental illness that frequently takes you to altered states and parallel realities. As someone living with bipolar, it took me several years to integrate my experiences in mania and psychosis into my grounded, stable life. There are indeed insightful gems to preserve from those otherworldly experiences that bring meaning to the monotony of my down-to-earth existence. However, if one is not careful to parse through the real and the illusory, the grandiosity, delusions, and paranoias can form part of the fabric of our mundane lives wreaking havoc and sabotaging the very things we’ve worked so hard to attain. It’s been a decade since I have been living with my diagnosis and I am still navigating the real and unreal. Though I would never choose it, my recent experience with crisis has the potential to further liberate me from ideas about myself, my worth, and what I deserve.

So what does this have to do with graduations? Well, in this season of my life I am learning that growth happens in cycles. As soon as something reaches a peak, we find ourselves in the valley once again. Life happens in spirals. Once a cycle completes a new one begins going over familiar territory, but with each pass, helping us to gain deeper insight and clarity. The World, the last card of the Major Arcana, is the end of the cycle where we pause and take stock of all that we have overcome and achieved. Then, we begin again with The Fool starting a new cycle and venturing into the unknown.

The World from the Rider Waite tarot deck
The Fool from the Rider Waite tarot deck

Image Description: Against the backdrop of downward-facing black Ride Waite tarot cards are a pile of upward facing cards, including The Sun, The World, and Judgement.

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