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The Alternative Tarot Course, Week 1 Exercise: Choosing a Card for the Journey

I mentioned in my last post that the final exercise of week one of the Alternative Tarot Course was to pick a card from the reader’s reading to keep with me for the duration of the course. After spending yesterday debating back and forth, I settled on XVIII. The Moon.

the moon from the wild unknown tarot, © kim krans

There are a few reasons why this card is resonating with me in regard to my tarot journey:

  • The Moon is all about vivid fears and internal alarms: things I need to face and things I need to learn to listen for.
  • The Moon calls me to venture out into the darkness of my mental landscape despite the feeling of potential danger.
  • In many decks, this card illustrates a tug-of-war between the wildness inside of us and our externally enforced (and often internalized) domestication — the pull between lapdog and wolf, both baying at the moon out of instinct, even if the wolf retains more connection to the rest of its instincts than its domesticated counterpart. This appeals to the restlessness in me (more on that below).
  • The Moon challenges the Seeker to question everything. On the one hand, there is the message to let instinct guide; on the other is the idea that moonlight changes the appearance of our surroundings — things are not always what they appear to be after dark. There is a challenge to find balance between openness to the mystical/mysterious and a healthy dose of skepticism/grounding in reality.
  • Nighttime and moonlight tend to strip away pretense — many of the most honest, insightful conversations of my life have happened after civilization had gone to bed.

The connection to my inner restlessness has stood out most strongly to me. (I’ve used the handle “restlesscourage” in various places on the internet since high school. I’ve always struggled to put adequate words to the concept, but the basic idea is that deep-down desire to make a difference and save the day is always there, restless beneath the surface, waiting for a chance to shine. I wish I could always be courageous.) I am nearly always restless. I’m a chronic insomniac and over-thinker. My brain rarely stops moving. This is a card that calls me to lean into that restless, disquieted part of my spirit, to plumb its depths and explore its deep darknesses. And maybe, just maybe, if I am more in touch with what’s going on beneath the surface of my mind, I will find some reprieve…or at least a better appreciation for why I struggle to quiet my racing thoughts.

This decision inspired a name change for this blog: it started out (because I was at a total loss for a name) as Alyx Talks Tarot. Now, I’ve christened it Restless Tarot, which feels like it’s going to fit this journey well.

At the conclusion of the first week of the course, I feel ready, with The Moon lighting my way, to dive headlong into this study. It promises to be a wild, interesting ride.

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I’m struggling with some major anxiety today, and decided to do something I’ve never done before – take out my tarot cards on my lunch break at work. I drew one card, looking for some encouragement, and this is what it was. Of all the court cards in this deck, the Father of Pentacles is the one that best encompasses my aspirations regarding the man I’m trying to be. It’s a nice reassurance that I’m pointed in the right direction, even if I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed right now.