With great joy I invite you to join me on Tuesdays at my new Wheel of Archetypal Selves Facebook page, where, starting today, every Tuesday I’ll be posting us a question to ponder in relation to the Tarot card of the week. I’m going to move sequentially through the deck, starting us off with one of my favorite cards: The Ace of Cups. I welcome your responses, written or in image form (if you are a photographer or artist, try your hand at taking a photo or drawing an image each week for the card under study). If you are a writer, self-seeker, or journal keeper, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Facebook page.
The Aces are viewed in the Tarot as gifts—a gift of the suit they fall in. Here, considering the Ace of Cups, we ponder the Gift of love—self-love in particular. Let’s consider the Ace as a cup, a receiving container, and dwell on metaphors of the heart.
What if this card has little to do with taking an action or struggling to figure out what self-love looks like and more to do with allowing and receiving love from others and the self?
Writing prompt: Write about a time in your life 1) you allowed yourself to feel loved by others and 2) a time when you, solitary, remember feeling joyfully at peace and radiant with the awareness of your intrinsic value as a human being.
Art prompt: Draw or photograph an Ace of Cups experience—either from the past, or one that you come across as you live your week holding the Ace of Cups in your mind and heart.
Back in 2009 I visited my friend Mary Allen in the heartland (we’d first met years prior while I was attending graduate school in Iowa City). Long time Tarot companions, ever in the pursuit of using the Tarot to move through fears and to quell the anxiety “du jour,” we sat down and threw our cards. We also somehow decided it was time to take a direct action to bring a little more tangible love into our lives by placing a small receiving bowl on our respective altars (probably Mary’s idea–it sounds like Mary–though she might say it was mine; either way, we were happy to have landed on the idea).
We kept it simple and headed over to Dollar Tree. We found two matching glass bowls, each bowl with a slightly different cut glass pattern. The thought was we’d keep our bowls empty and symbolically in return they’d fill with the kinds of love and experiences we first took the time to write down on a piece of paper. We wrote for at least twenty minutes–maybe half an hour. We typed our respective paragraphs up on beautiful parchment paper and tied each scroll shut with a layer of tissue paper and yarn. All too soon it was time to part; off I flew to California, receiving bowl wrapped in a couple of sweaters deep inside my suitcase.
Once home in San Diego, my receiving bowl occupied a spot on my bedside table. It was never empty for long, filling with various tiny omens—a blue glass heart I bought from a friend, a pale set of rose quartz runes another poet gave me on retreat, a pair of silver sea-star earrings my husband gave me. Living in a busy house with two cats, a Siberian Husky, and three children, I was always surprised to see my bowl still perched intact.
Til one day last summer I walked in my bedroom and got that something-out-of-place feeling, and down below on the floor, found the two perfectly halved shards of the bowl. None of the children confessed so the cats took the heat. I salvaged the rose quartz runes and blue heart, slid the sea-stars in my earlobes and untied the letter I’d written at Mary’s. I found the sorrows catalogued there—mostly missing time with my husband during a time we endured three years of a two-city commute—had no more hold on my heart. How lovely to find the old griefs replaced by a new set of rituals now that we live under one roof in the same city: we walk the dog together with steaming cups of coffee each morning, we stroll by the sea on weekends with the children.
This week, in honor of the Ace of Cups, it’s time to ponder the next layer of receiving. To welcome a deepening of the Ace of Cups gift of self-love, it’s time to write up a new letter to the universe. I’m on the hunt this week for a new receiving chalice for the bedside table.
Ace of Cups pictured here:
Thoth deck Ace of Cups painted by Lady Frieda Harris, Voyager Ace of Cups by James Wanless, and The Rider Waite Ace of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith.
Photo at top of post is by Robyn Beattie.
Wheel of Archetypal Selves: The Many Faces of Love Tarot Writing class starts February 15, 2016.