Earth, Fire, and Clear-Cuts

The first time I saw a fresh clear-cut I was 19 and exploring the Northwest with college friends. The sight of the sharp edge slicing through a crest of trees took my breath away. I had no context in which to place what I was seeing, and got dizzy just trying to make sense of it.

That memory came to me this morning as I walked through a formerly wooded area twenty-five miles outside of Seattle. The suburb is so young you can still see the edge of the clear-cuts surrounding the snapped-together malls and houses. In the misty November air, the former forest was palpable. I could feel it between remaining trees, see it in the carcass of a sunken cottage, and hear it in the bewildered pond behind a Gold’s Gym.

The tarot cards looming large today are the Eight of Wands and the Two of Pentacles. Fire and Earth. These two cards have shown a lot in my readings recently. Together they represent the upheaval and disorientation caused by rapid change. Pamela Coleman-Smith’s iconic drawings are easy to interpret. Notice the high seas behind the pentacle juggler. See the eight wands flying through the sky and feel a rug being pulled from under your feet.

Tarot helps us understand that energy comes in waves that are larger than the details of our lives. These two cards apply to current politics as well as people’s personal situations in love and work. Upheaval seems to be the energy wave of the day. It leaves people rocky, unsure, and sometimes whiplashed in its wake. When we experience this dynamic, the natural questions are: What can I do to find my equilibrium? How can I best cope? How do I stave off the most serious damage?

A good way to find advice in the Tarot is to look at the cards that sequentially surround the cards you pick. In this case, since we are all looking toward the future, I examine the next cards in both these suits: the Three of Pentacles and the Nine of Wands.

The difference between the Two and the Three of Pentacles is that the person in the first card is trying to handle things all alone. The Three reminds us to ask for help from the people around us. We are stronger and more stable together even if, like the people in the card, we need to confer and decipher clues before knowing how best to move forward. The Three of Pentacles reminds us that people in a group have a vast pool of resources – far greater than this ragtag group might seem to have at first glance.

While the Eight of Wands evokes a helpless feeling, the Nine of Wands is about personal protection. Some decks refer to this suit as “Staves,” which I love given that the energy in this card is staving off threats. He is suspicious for a reason, but has enough experience to be able to discern friend from foe. This card advises us to keep our guards up, to not minimize the threat, and to stay vigilant.

Although I didn’t know what a clear-cut was as a child, I’ve been living on top of them all my life. We all have. And while today’s scorched earth may feel like an impossibly deep wound, we have a say in how to heal it.

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On a very different note, it’s “What-On-Earth-Am-I-Going-To-Get-For-That-Person?” season again! Why not wow them with the gift of tarot? Give someone a reading, or have me read tarot at your holiday party (book quickly… my schedule is filling up).  Contact me for gift certificates, or book a reading directly online.

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