THE TAROTCAST: Grace Under Pressure – From Hot Mess to Master-Manifestor

    Week of August 22, 2016

    Grace under pressure.

    These three words define this reading — which feels perfect as we enter a week where the cards tally with a meeting of two powerful planets: a conjunction between Mars and Saturn.

    Something is ready, waiting, and able to be birthed, but it is going to ask a lot of you to do so.

    It is going to require that you not only bring it through at a time when your energy levels are having demands placed on them that can feel unbearable and restrictive: it is also going to require that you bring it through when that energy feels contradictory, disorganised — when you feel, in moments, like a hot mess.

    There is a silver lining to all of this, though. A compelling one.

    In fact, you are working with resources that offer significant potential, with the means to shape them and to build them into something that is distinctly and enduringly tangible.

    All of which might be eclipsed by this sense of pressure you’re experiencing and a perceived inability to get your hands on the wheel of your life, your project, your relationship (take your pick) long enough to maneouvre it just a little let alone to feel like you’re driving the damn thing.

    So let’s take a closer look at what’s happening in each card and, more importantly, how to align with the pressure and friction so that you’re not so much a hot mess as a diamond in the rough.

    The card on the left, the Ten of Wands, speaks to the idea of “pressure”. The final card in the Wands suit, it is the sum total of the eight incarnate cards preceding it (i.e. the Two of Wands through the Nine of Wands).

    It describes a state you have chosen to enter that is putting significant demands on your inner resources — that is, your drive, your creativity, your vitality, your ability to function in the outside world.

    I write “chosen to enter it,” but that choice may have been unconscious, or at a few removes from what you’re dealing with today.


    In other words, you may wonder why you are here, like this figure bowed and enclosed in a stone room, the Wands bearing down on you, isolated and with no view to a changing horizon.

    In truth, you have chosen it, whether actively or passively, consciously or unconsciously.

    And why do I say this? What use is knowing this to you now? Because if on some level you have chosen it, then you can also choose to leave, or to work with your circumstances so that they start working for you and not against you.

    The reason for this is that the Ten has to shift.

    Like each and every tarot card, it describes something that is not set in stone, and which will change. And, as a Ten, that shift becomes more urgent — there is a quickening, even while it may feel like you are held, slow-mo, under duress.

    I tend to look at the cards that precede and proceed from the ones that appear in a reading, and here, the card that I am giving a nod to, which is not present, but which is strongly implied, is that card that comes after the Ten of Wands — the one that the energy can shift into.

    That card is the Ace of Cups. Self-love. The love that starts with you and then radiates outwards.

    The Ace of Cups, like all Aces, asks us to reach for it; it does not give itself up to you without your surrender to it by accepting it into your life.

    What would self-love do here?

    How can this energy that is bearing down on you be put to service, how can it be harnessed so that it shifts a situation creatively? (This might be a good place to start.)

    What are you learning from being where you are, in this enclosure?

    What is it bringing to you, and what is it bringing that you can now use to transform this space into one that breaks things open, opens things up, raises you and enables you to see that horizon?

    This is echoed to a substantial degree in the Five of Wands, though here the energy is more fiery, having not yet consolidated into the kind of ‘heaviness’ that the Ten embodies.

    This is the card where you have reserves that are more available to grapple with.

    Here, it is not so much about that grinding sense of pressure slowing everything down to a halt, but rather about finding the wherewithal to work with something that is not easily moulded and where internal and/or external leadership is in conflict or absent.

    See that hand in the Five of Wands? This is the image of working your way above ground, of reaching above the fire and constriction for some breathing space.

    Of striving (and I love that Röhrig uses “strive” and not “strife,” which is more traditional for the Five of Wands) towards dominion again.

    It is that inner fight that can be directed with purpose instead of being turned in on itself and leaving you spinning, without anything meaningful to sink your claws into.

    So, between that Saturn in Sagittarius Ten — where what is seeking to spread its wings and impact the world beyond your own small sphere needs the benefit of a strong shift — and that Saturn in Leo Five of Wands — where your inner hearth is burning but the fire-master’s attention is compromised — we have the potential for something else.

    That, my hearts, is another Ace — this time, one that is not implied, but very much present in this reading and in your life: the Ace of Disks.


    The Ace of Disks is the “ace in the hole”.

    It is what you can pull out of what appears to be thin air to make something rather superbly manifest.

    It is the hidden gem, the diamond that is sparkling right underneath your feet — the one that, currently, looks so distant and out-of-reach. (And there have been a lot of Disks recently to pave the way.)

    Well, it is not out of reach.

    But it takes faith — faith that you can use what it is that you feel is currently standing in your way and frustrating the shit out of you, and make it into something useful, valuable, enduring, and undeniable in its presence.

    This is Mars and Saturn at their best when they come together.

    This is what astrologer Chani Nicholas describes in her column about the astrology for this week:

    When we use this combination to understand the limits we need to respect as well as to encourage our ability to break the boundaries that keep us living in too small a way, we can accomplish amazing amounts of long-lasting progress.

    You’ve got it in you.

    You have the means. You certainly have the fire, because currently you’re feeling heat as it radiates down on you, and the flames as they singe your ass.

    But you have to reach it and then use it. Remember: it meets you halfway, if you meet it and surrender to it. And surrender doesn’t mean “do nothing.” Not one bit. It means allowing the power of what comes through you to take shape, and listening to the wisdom of your incredible creativity as you partner with it.

    That distant star? It is far, far closer than you think.


    About the Author:

    ScaryTarotBioSarah is a tarot-teaching, tarot-reading, tarot-writing witch with a devoted interest in getting people turned on to the magical, alchemical, utterly transformative possibilities of these potent 78 cards. With a background in psychotherapy and certification as a somatic sex educator, Sarah is not only supremely interested in tarot as an art-form, but also in every client and student who comes through her virtual doors, and how they can forge their unique rhythm with the cards.
    You can find Sarah at her website Integrated Tarot, and on Facebook.

    Astrology Correspondences: Ten of Wands (Saturn in Sagittarius), Ace of Disks (the pure, limitless potential of earth), Five of Wands (Saturn in Leo)

    [Cards from The Röhrig Tarot deck, created by Carl-W. Röhrig © US Games, Inc.]




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