The Card(s): The Star (Major Arcanum XVII), Ten of Cups, Eight of Cups • The Deck: Spolia Tarot
I don’t know about y’all, but the last couple of weeks have been… a lot.
We are currently on the waning end of a very intense full moon in Scorpio (Thurs., May 7) and headed toward a new moon in Gemini on Fri., May 22. New moons are traditionally a time to set intentions for the upcoming moon cycle, plant seeds for what you’d like to nurture and grow, and begin working to manifest your desires.
New moons are also a time of literal and metaphorical darkness. They remind us, each and every month, that no one, not even the moon herself, can be full and bright all the time.
In preparing for this tarotscope, I did a bit of astrological research as to what energetic flavor the upcoming new moon might bring. Themes of rebuilding, recovery, and making progress came up, accompanied by themes of confusion and deception. Seems rather spot-on after all we’ve gone through recently, yes?
When doing a tarot reading, sometimes I take a passive role and just allow the cards to speak. I don’t start with any questions in mind aside from a vague “What’s up?” or “What do you have to say?” Other times, I approach the reading as a direct conversation with the cards. I ask specific questions, and the cards provide specific answers.
For this tarotscope, I took the latter approach. After the intensity of the last couple weeks, I felt a strong need for structure and guidance in this reading. I asked three questions and received three distinct answers.
- What do we need to know as we approach this new moon? – The Star
- What collective action can we take as we begin to move forward? – Ten of Cups
- What lesson or energy from the full moon in Scorpio can we carry with us? – Eight of Cups
The first thing to note is the abundance of water energy present in this reading, in all three cards. The minor arcana suit of Cups is ruled by the element of water, which corresponds to the emotional realm. The Star, a major arcanum and thus a more potent energetic force, is frequently depicted* as a nude maiden poised at the water’s edge, with one foot on land and one in the water. She pours water from two jugs: one onto the land upon which she kneels, and the other back into the pool in which she is half-immersed.
(*The Spolia tarot deck depicts The Star a bit differently, but the energetic meaning is still the same.)
As we approach the upcoming new moon, The Star speaks of hope and orientation. We are immersed in darkness, both in the literal and figurative sense, the microcosm and the macrocosm. And yet, in the darkness there is a glimmer of illumination — of light that has traveled vast and unimaginable distances to reach us.
The preceding weeks and months have been confusing, uncertain, and scary. On a broader timeline, the effects stemming from a period of long-term historical darkness — colonialism, capitalism, racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, institutionalized -isms of all kinds — are coming to light.
As we begin the process of emerging from this darkness, we must find ways to orient ourselves. For millennia, the stars have served as a sort of celestial GPS for those who travel to unknown places. The stars help us understand where we are, and which direction we must go, to arrive at our destiny.
We can still look to the stars / The Star for orientation. The stars / The Star will always serve as a light in the dark. But remember, it is during the darkest night that we are able to see the stars most clearly, both spiritually and literally.
Now that we know where we are and where we’re going, we move forward. What collective action can we take as we begin to do so? The Ten of Cups gives us a big clue: it symbolizes the act of coming together in order to let go.
Numerologically, the Ten of Cups contains the energy of both one and zero. The number one represents the beginning of all things, while zero represents a completion, culmination, circling all the way around to begin again. This symbolizes both emotional fulfilment, and the temporary nature of that fulfillment — which is why it is so precious and beautiful.
The Spolia tarot deck depicts the Ten of Cups with rainbows, an apt metaphor for the fleeting quality of its vibe. In nature, a rainbow rarely lasts for more than a few minutes, and the conditions necessary to produce one must be just right.
Rainbows are special because we don’t see them every day. The same goes for the Ten of Cups: we might experience attainment or fulfillment or “happily ever after,” but even that kind of rainbow eventually fades from view. So we appreciate it while it exists — but then let it go, acknowledging that it is impossible to contain.
The recent full moon in Scorpio (a water sign!) washed away many illusions we may have held about ourselves, our desires, or the world at large. Have you been finding yourself facing some difficult truths, or abandoning certain things, such as dreams, beliefs, habits, behaviors, or parts of yourself? After this great cleansing, what are we to carry forward with us?
The COVID-19 crisis inspires many to speak of “returning to normal.” But this implies that the “normal” we knew pre-COVID was a) actually normal and b) worth returning to. The Eight of Cups reminds us, and not always in a gentle manner: just because something is familiar and even comfortable doesn’t mean it’s worth revisiting, or retaining.
We will all eventually encounter a time when moving forward, and creating a more sustainable future, means emotionally divesting from the past and/or the present in order to move forward. Walking toward one thing often means walking away from something else.
The water energy of this reading is pivotal. In nature, water must keep moving to remain healthy. It becomes stagnant and toxic, instead of life-giving, if it sits too long. The message here may be, “Go with the flow, don’t fight against the current.” Water puns that are at once mundane and simple, and profound.
If you can, welcome this new moon by being around moving water, like a river, creek or stream. If you can’t find moving water, a lake, pond or even pool or bathtub will do. If possible, stand with one foot in the water and the other on land. Or envision yourself doing so. Allow yourself to occupy two realms at once: within, and without.
Let’s each tend our inner worlds — so that we, as a collective, may in turn tend the outer world.