“Help me understand how to relate to my kid,” a father said to me. “He’s a teenager, his lives with his mom, and I’m worried that he has no direction in life. He plays video games, is on his computer all the time, and gives me no reason to believe he’s got any thoughts for the future. I’m afraid that if I don’t teach him better, he’ll just drift through life and waste his potential.”
The most common advice he heard from his friends was difficult for him to accept. They told him, gently I imagine, to back off, cut the kid some slack, and recognize his actions as controlling. He suspected there was some wisdom in that advice, but he was not willing to surrender completely to their assessment. Regardless, he knew he and his son were stuck in an imperfect pattern.
What did the cards have to say?
He shuffled and cut the deck for a simple 3-card spread:
- 6 of Swords, upright
- 2 of Wands, reversed
- Page of Swords, upright
The 6 of Swords as a covering card was a refreshing surprise for me. Rather than saying “back off,” this card validates the man’s role as a guide. It also acknowledges that his role is complicated, and that the journey is not simple. The 6 of Swords is commonly said to be about the journey from rough to calm waters. (I’ve written about it before). In the Golden Tarot deck, it clearly shows a trio. Examining their family roles would have been a bigger and different reading, but the important message for this reading was that his guidance IS necessary to help his child navigate his adolescence. He has a place in the boat. It saw it as a vote of confidence for him. He has a prominent place in this boat.
But the qualifying cards gave a slight twist. I felt that both qualifying cards referred directly to the teen. Card 3, the Page of Swords, was upright, looking outward. The words I connected to at the time were: True, Stalwart, Sincere, Healthy. The Page is a lovely teenager with great potential. In the same way that the first card was a vote of confidence for the man, I saw this as a tribute to this boy’s strength and curiosity. I let the dad sit with this image. Can you see your son in this card?
To the left was the only reversed card in the bunch: the 2 of Wands. In this card, a figure stands looking at the horizon with a globe in his hand. This card is about setting plans, seeing the big picture, and imagining the future. But the card was upside-down. Reversals rarely indicated a lack of something, but rather a presence that is qualified in some way. I read this as saying that the energy of the 2 of Wands was emergent in the teen. The skill was growing, but was not yet strong enough to be visible to others.
The message I left this client with was: “You are an important guide to your son. He is learning from you if he shows it or not. And, at the same time that you help steer the ship, you can hold steady to your belief in your son’s goodness. He has more going on inside than he is able to show at this time. In the same way that these cards validate your role as a guide, they also validate your son’s strength and developing maturity. Does seeing that in the cards make it possible for you to improve the dynamic that has been bothering you?”