Sometimes it seems that certain cards just stalk your life. Ask a friend for an objective reading, oh look, there’s that card. Pick a card of the day, oops guess what, there it is. Large group ritual where people are randomly assigned cards. Surprise, surprise you get that ‘stalker’ card assigned to you again.
I’ve been stalked by ‘The Tower’ for years. It’s almost become a bit of a joke. If just a little tedious because at its core The Tower isn’t what you would consider a great card when it comes to positive life experiences. Ruled by the planet Mars it is essentially destructive in nature. Although in fairness, it also means you normally get to work on something new and exciting as a result of this destruction and the challenge of creating something new can be enough to keep you going for quite some time. So it’s not all doom and gloom, honest!
For years my default response to the Tower was to reduce it down to the Chariot. When life decides that you need to tear things down, then moving on to something else with sheer will and intent is a valid way forward. It doesn’t just work for this one situation either, this simplistic reduction technique is something that can be adapted to most of the scenarios indicated by the Majors. For example:
Wheel of Fortune (10) reduces to Magician (1)
Fed up of feeling like you are at the whim of Fate? Then gather your tools and take command of your own destiny.
Justice (11) reduces to High Priestess (2)
Feeling like you’ve sold your soul to the corporate machine? Bogged down with paperwork and bureaucracy? Then spend some time meditating, go on a spiritual retreat, join a psychic development class and get your right brain back on track.
The Tower (16) reduces to The Chariot (7)
Does everything feel like it’s collapsing around your ears? Life taking no prisoners and leaving destruction in its wake? Then gather yourself up and leave that crap behind; it’s time to move on to pastures new.
It works surprisingly well if there is something bigger at stake and the card stalking you is a major. But what if it’s a minor card that is stalking you? Or what if that major just won’t go away and leave you alone even when you’ve done the work above?
Well, using the stalker card to create a unique spread which you can integrate into a daily ritual or shadow work may well be your answer because one day you’re going to find a situation where changing tack or moving on isn’t the right or mature thing to do. After all, we can’t spend our entire lives just saying what the heck and burning bridges in our wake; sometimes we need to rebuild, not destroy. By really working with the troublesome card we can focus our minds and really get to the root of the problem.
Let’s use the Tower as an example, although the system applies to all cards. Firstly look closely and identify what key images are contained in the card.
Assign a card to each of those aspects, so for the Tower it would be the crown, the lightning, the people and the rocks. Think carefully about what those images mean to you and by all means do some research if one particular symbol stands out, but leaves you stumped. When you are happy, assign those symbols/meanings to a card before shuffling the deck and asking yourself, what can I learn from this card?
Card 1 – What Crowns Me?
The crown is a symbol of your sovereignty, it is your self respect and self worth. When balanced it is a treasure to hold onto. Something you shouldn’t give away. But it can become inflated, egotistical and overbearing. When looking at this card in the spread consider if a compromise to your situation would strip you of your sovereignty or just deflate your ego. If it’s the former consider your position carefully. Maybe jumping on the next Chariot isn’t such a bad idea after all.
Card 2 – What is the Root?
Mountains and rocks can be indicator of struggle and hardship, and let’s face it, things don’t look good for those poor folks falling down. Yes, the tower may have been struck by lightning but the rocks are what is going to do for them. This is the root of the problem, what is really causing the disharmony. Many problems can seem straightforward on the surface but they may be a symptom rather than the cause. If you have any hope of fixing your situation you need to be aware of hidden aspects.
Card 3 – What Strikes me?
When lightning strikes it’s going to hurt. There is no two ways about it. But knowing how this problem is going to affect you personally can go a long way to helping you deal with the aftermath. After all, when lightning strikes it also illuminates so we may as well take advantage of what it shows us. How you deal with your emotional and physical responses can play a big part in how a situation works out in the long run. And if you can prepare for them even better.
Card 4 – Who Free-Falls?
In any difficult situation there may well be other players, be these friends, family, co-workers, even pets! When a tower falls down somebody may end up toppling and that somebody may not be you. Is cutting your losses going to affect someone else in your life? Are they innocent victims of collateral damage or the willing participant with an appetite for destruction? Are you willing to sacrifice yourself, or them, for a greater good?
As witches we are hard-wired to take responsibility for ourselves and how we interact with the world around us and yet so often we shrug and scratch our heads over repeating cards rather than taking them and really working with them, integrating them into our lives and our magick until we cannot but see the solution. Deep personal magick with nothing but a deck of cards.