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I started picking a Tarot card for the day in January 2023 when we went to Aruba for a vacation. My husband’s family took an immediate liking to the cards and their interest gave me the extra incentive I needed to reignite my interest. At the same time, I started to not feel great, my stomach has been an ongoing issue  that seemed to be escalating, but more than that was exhaustion and enlarged lymph nodes  — luckily, it was near time to see my oncologist and I had a feeling that something was wrong. I felt both dread and eagerness in wanting to know more about these symptoms. Tests were taken and by the time my appointment came up my daily cards for the day started to get quite intense. I picked Wheel of Fortune one day telling me that I do not have control over the future, Judgement, which is Tarot’s way of asking “How am I doing?” and The Tower, whose card is embedded in my brain. When I picked that card I knew something big was coming and that life will never be the same again. On the day of my appointment to find out test results I picked the Magician who was telling me about my new path. But, back to the Tower.

The images in The Tower are always in my head with 2 people falling head first  from a crumbling tower, with nothing to grab onto and the only way they can go is down and away from the tower, away from the familiar. The helplessness is frightening enough but the tower has lightning bolts, and fire which seem to be sparking all the destructive action. The 2 helpless figures have always caught my eye with a spark of anxiety but luckily I haven’t picked that card all too often, that is, until recently.

I just found out that not only did my cancer come back, more precisely it only shrank to undetectable proportions until recently. It’s like the Tower within me telling me everything is going to change, it has been brewing for a long time, and  now it is erupting. It’s taking me away from the physical and emotional comforts of my life into unknown territory. It is me in the tower that is falling head first symbolizing the end of all that I worked hard at establishing in my life. 

 When I had cancer the first time I thought that cancer helped me find meaning in my life that went deeper than the comfortable lifestyle I created. I found my writing voice and sought truth. I thought I was doing well, on a path to becoming acquainted with inner truth, my soul, higher self, or what IS. Then cancer erupted again like a volcano that had been simmering underground until it was time to erupt into an active volcano and I find myself falling again, further than ever before. Whatever I built all these years doesn’t provide me with the same sense of security. It now feels like wanting to finish the milk before the expiration date. Nourishment is no longer the issue, it just shouldn’t go to waste.

Different interpretations of The Tower talk about falling away from all that is unnecessary and into a path of truth. Theoretically I want to take that ride, but I find myself wanting to know the progression of lymphoma, what if this clinical trial doesn’t work and how much time do I have. Then I try to dismiss these thoughts to find value in the moment but it is hard to let go of all that I worked so hard for. How do I let go of wondering what the future holds for me and hold onto the present instead? Various forms of Eastern philosophy will say that being in the moment is where peace lies and intellectually I understand, but I find myself looking for distraction in what is familiar. Just before writing this, I picked my card for the day, the Knight of Wands a young man ready to take action. I’m not ready.

 Then there are the yuds: in the Waite deck, they represent “Opposing extremes of energy.” For me, those golden sparks of energy represent all kinds of hope: hoping for a passing grade, that he will ask me out, the job I interviewed for, no rain on our wedding day, winning the lottery, hoping for world peace. When well-wishers tell me they feel hopeful that this clinical trial will be the cure, and everything will be ok, it doesn’t feel different than the other things I have hoped for: it feels more like a wish, a desire. It is not  tangible and is as unrealistic as expecting to win the lottery but when I dispute this theory I am told “You have to have hope” and I agree, but I’m still trying to figure out what to be hopeful for. Perhaps the yuds on the tower  card represent the fall of false hope, or wishes and in its’ place is something much more real. We can wish for world peace but unless we all do something to work toward it, it remains just a hope  a wish or a prayer if we want to place the responsibility in a higher power.

Instead of wishing and hoping, perhaps finding a way to let go of expectations, and unravel  defenses in order to find the pure freshness of being where I/we can look at whatever comes our way with acceptance. Finding the strength to live my truth is something I can hope for, but that also requires faith in my ability to persistently keep up the search. Among the mix of yuds are golden sparks of energy that can help me/us find my/our way on the next path in life. They just have to be found.