A few months ago, I realized that it was probably time for me to make a career move. I’d been working for a software company in B2B sales, but I was not happy. The money was pretty good, but the work…well, it was miserable.
I won’t go too far into the specifics, but I’d decided that for the purpose of my own health, I had to make a change. But when? That was a critical question. Like everyone else, I have bills to pay and can’t rely on anyone else to help me out. So I kept putting the decision off. Maybe next month. Maybe at the end of the summer.
In the meantime, I was having to force myself out of bed every morning. I hated going to my cubicle and I hated what I did all day, every day. I’d recently started delving back in to studying the tarot and kept a deck at my desk. I’d gotten into the habit of doing a quick reading each morning before things got underway. It was a nice way to get things going and keep myself focused on my tarot practice.
So here I was, going through the motions and trying not to lose my mind. I wanted to look for other work, but my position kept me busy for about 60 hours a week, plus I was teaching as an adjunct on the side. I had neither the time nor energy to look for other opportunities. I was stuck.
One evening, after a particularly heinous day, I decided to do some meditation to try and relax a bit. I’d recently started using tarot as an entry point into my meditation practice by drawing a single card and mentally focusing on its symbolism and significance for a few moments before transitioning into mindfulness.
On this particular night, I’d taken a hot bath and was in a good place for some meditation. I started to draw a single card, but on a whim pulled three for a simple reading of the kind Robert M. Place describes as a “Three Card Message” in his book Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination. 2005, Penguin.
In this simple spread, three cards are drawn but no immediate value or significance is assigned to any aspect of the cards. In other words, even the position of the cards is up for interpretation. Instead, Place suggests that there are six possible patterns. I won’t delve into all of them here (buy his book–it’s worth it) so I’ll just focus on what I saw in the reading.
In my reading, the first thing I noticed was that the character of the central card, the Four of Pentacles, was facing outward. Looking directly at me, as a matter of fact. As I read this card, two meanings emerge. First, this card signified my situation and I’d go so far as to say even myself. The Four of Pentacles can indicate someone who is focused too closely on money or material possession. Voila! I was continuing to work a job I hated out of fear for what it might mean for my financial situation. This character is surrounded by thoughts of money and security: beneath his feet, on his lap, and above his head are pentacles. Pretty accurate so far.
Up next: the Ten of Cups. A couple of things jumped out at me immediately. First, while the figure in the Four of Pentacles stands in front of an urban landscape, the family (not an individual, but a group of people) are looking out over what appears to be a rural setting. This caught my eye because I’ve also been considering relocating out of the downtown urban area where I live for someplace that offers a little more peace and quiet.
The Ten of Cups is often read as a good omen, as the materialization of joy, contentment, or desire. In other words, good things. In any case, it looks like the folks on this card are happy, healthy, and having a good time. That’s all I really want!
On the other hand, the Ten of Cups is contrasted by the third card in the spread, The Devil. As I understand this card, it represents some pretty negative experiences: unhappiness, loss of freedom (enslavement?), and general bad news. Don’t want any of that, thanks!
My takeaway from this reading was that my situation was a choice between continuing what I’d been doing and remaining unhappy, or taking a chance at something new. I had delayed making that choice out of fear and a (not entirely unreasonable) preoccupation with my financial resources.
Ok, ok. So I knew that this was the situation before I ever did this card reading. I knew it in my blood and my bones. But the reading gave me an opportunity to reflect on my dilemma, my choice, and the two possible outcomes in a different way.
I’m not a person who operates entirely on caprice, so I made sure my savings were at a comfortable level, I checked to make sure I could afford to keep my health insurance, and refreshed my resume. Then I quit my job.