Ash and Stardust, a monthly column by energy worker and artist/writer DHIYANAH HASSAN explores the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. You can read the rest of the series here.
While our Northern and Southern hemispheres exchange weather, monsoon rains pour its threats and blessings on the equator. Toasty lands find relief with aid from migrating clouds, storm winds push the haze in and out, rising mud ring in flowers along the roadsides like celebration, bursts of heat and humidity break any rhythm we might try to tame with reason – the combination is calming, chaotic, and languid. Our eyes are sleepy from rain then watchful for floods and typhoons while our trees and shorelines swell with volume. Sometimes an irrational anxiety stirs our body, coaxing us to consider our roles with each other in unexpected ways. Other times a cloud inside us wrings itself dry, releasing its burdens and we find ourselves drained from feeling it all.
Rain drumming against awnings, earth, and windows bring old lullabies back to the heart.
As seasons change, so do our daily habits, our bodies adapting and compromising with us. Temperatures shake up circadian rhythms, stunting or catalyzing growth within the myriads of topographies making up our bodily beings, emotional terrains, and mental health. Our pendulum of awareness may swing from one side to the other with frightening intensity. We breathe to find our center, then we keep breathing – devoting ourselves to Earth’s gravitational pull to keep us steady.
We were made to feel our seasons, our weathers, personally.
Libra season beckons us to find balance. At this point in the Gregorian calendar, we’ve worked the year as much as it has worked us and it’s now time for an integration of sorts, where we review and reorient ourselves with what feels most natural to us.
In the fantasy trilogy by N.K. Jemison, The Inheritance Trilogy, the godlings of that world derive strength from committing themselves fully to the essence of their beings. The god of childhood stays true to his nature by embodying the mischief, the mess, and the impulse of childhood. Despite being the oldest of the godlings he acts like a child, throwing off most of the mortals who come in contact with him. At one point, we’re told that he is the strongest of his kind for the mere fact that he stays true to his nature.
We are, by our own nature and that of our home planet’s, creatures of flux, of change. We grow big from love and self-discovery, then small from flaying ourselves or each other to fit into the fictions of society. We create, we age. We are at our best when we’re given space to grow, even if the only space we have access to is in the pages of a diary.
As writers of our own stories, we acknowledge that whichever narrative we’re living in right now, this doesn’t have to be forever. Where we are now will change as we change, our bodies changing with us.
Libra’s air element asks us to approach our bodies with an intellectual maturity while its ruling planet Venus reminds us that bodies are made up of more than flesh and the thoughts careening through its nervous system. The body as a home is essentially a place, so where in your bodies can you make space for growth, right now? Where are your gardens, your safe havens, the neglected corners where difficult emotions have been collecting dust this whole time? What needs to be aired out this month, what needs to be cried over? Where can you embrace yourself so that you’re holding within you a reality that is gentle, dynamic, and everything you have ever hoped for? Remember, vulnerability is strength. Our truest powers are housed in our softest gestures – that’s just how we were built.
What’s being revealed – The Fool
The leap-of-faith card here is depicted by an old naked man leaping around happily while flowers rain down on him – or perhaps his feet are kicking them up. The Fool never fails to bring with it a sense of relief as it encourages us to give ourselves permission to trust, have faith in what’s happening around us, and have fun.
It takes very little to make a leap of faith and that’s the hard truth of it. The spontaneous act of jumping into something new comes from the absence of worries, a lack of anxieties, and very little awareness for consequences. These are all things we hold on to because they make us feel safe. Our worries guide us, our anxieties stoke fires under our asses, and our “what-ifs” ensure we’re not doing something stupid. All legit. Too much of these, though, and we’re just flailing in our neuroses, not really getting anywhere important. The Fool, at this stage of our journey, is a lesson in giving ourselves permission to trust that we are far more capable of creating goodness than we give ourselves credit for. If we let go, what’s the best thing that could happen? Write these down, daydream them awake, dance to them so your body starts to remember how to be home to joy and wonder.
Challenges to integrate – Six of Swords
There is such relief in this card as the figure in it finds a gap above her where she can breathe and not drown. I read the sixes like conflict resolution cards. Coming after the fives, which are all about facing anxiety or challenges, the sixes direct you towards a turning point in the situation – how to shift perspectives, change the narrative, and find release. There is a transformation taking place here and there’s also gentleness in how the figure’s reluctance to come fully out of the water is honored.
The Six of Swords acknowledges that changing can be scary. What’s familiar will always be more comforting even if that’s a space where the water’s so high you only have a few inches of breathing space left. It takes time to fully let go, and that’s okay, though we might not even notice it when we’ve been holding ourselves hostage to a narrative we’re ready to shed. The challenge here is to simply become aware of the situation without denying yourself or your body relief.
Challenges to integrate – Reversed Nine of Cups
Reversed, the Nine of Cups indicate what needs unblocking. Upright, this is the card of prosperity, confidence, and fulfillment. That energy is still present here even in its reversed aspect, but the reversal indicates cause for emphasis – here’s something to pay close attention to this month. The stories we tell ourselves, the ones we situate ourselves in, all have an effect in how we create or destroy. Paired with the Six of Swords it might be useful to ask if we’ve been resistant to change lately, if we’ve been bottling up our feelings – and to consider how our reluctance or neglect might be blocking us from satisfaction and emotional well-being. What practices, routines, or rituals can you commit yourself to in these next few weeks to develop a safer and more explorative relationship with your feelings?
Support – Reversed Five of Cups
What a card for this placement! This is the place for “what will hold you up when those challenges feel like weights you’re not built to carry,” and I see this as a clear signal to let go of old griefs.
Of course, nothing is that simple when it comes to old griefs and this card knows it. In its reversed form, the card acknowledges that the traumas and wounds from the past happened. They were real, they had real consequences, they might have even broken you. They might still be hammering away at your body, your capacity, your health. But like all stories here on this planet – this doesn’t have to be forever. You don’t have to be broken all the time.
Wherever you are with your griefs and wounds and worries, can you find a threshold to cross over, towards something new and unknown, something softer? If you need to, travel back in time and discover all the ways you had sought or created support to get yourself through the worst of it – can you bring some of that fierce resilience back to the present? Acknowledge your griefs, but also acknowledge that there is still so much brewing inside of you that wants to be discovered.