Processing Transitions with the Tarot VIs
Sometimes your Universe can shift, the rug gets pulled out from beneath your feet. You were going along quite well on a certain track, hustling and bustling and creating your best life, when suddenly your course is diverted. You find yourself someplace unexpected, in foreign territory. Where are you? How did you end up here? You may even turn around in a slow circle, looking for familiar landmarks before accepting that, indeed, everything is different here.
This type of discombobulation often happens after you discover a blind spot. Something that you previously could not see is abruptly evident. You tilted your perspective just a degree in a new direction and a whole new world of nuance and understanding appeared. Bam! There it all is, plain as day, your blind spot. There’s no going back now.
The revelation of your blind spot can even seem to reinvent your past as red flags pop up out of the murk that you previously couldn’t see. Is this a conspiracy? Is this the same dimension you were living in before or have you been transported to a parallel dimension? Were those warning signs actually there or did the Universe go back and change your history to suit the new world in which you now live? If the discovery of your blind spot is earth shaking, the grief and confusion that follows can lead to the various coping mechanisms for grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
When you are confronted with your blind spot it can feel a bit like vertigo. The world careens dangerously to one side and then the other without a soft place to land. The past comes into excruciatingly close examination for instances of your weakness. The future opens up as a wild place where any disastrous recreation of situations could happen. The present moment becomes slow and painful, but it is the only place from which healing and stabilization can occur, so you scramble to stay there as much as you can.
The VI cards in the minor arcana show this time of transition after you become aware of your blind spot. (I wrote recently about how the V cards are a great depiction of the actual discovery of the blind spot!) To begin with, the VI of Swords is traditionally read as a card of transition, moving from one place to another. Often that move is literal, where you pick up your house and move someplace else. Uncovering a blind spot can often make your current living situation untenable so you may have to move house. More often, this move you need to make is mental, going from one state of understanding to the next level of consciousness.
The VI of Swords has a certain peace to it. The shock of discovering that things are not what they appear and that your mind has been filling in the missing pieces with inaccurate information is softly diminishing. After the shock wears off there is a sense of being adrift, of wandering, of seeing where these revelations lead. You know you are on a journey but the destination isn’t that important and regardless, it is unknowable. The VI of Swords denotes a time when your mind is on a journey to reassemble a life that now includes the information that was previously in your blind spot. It’s difficult, but it’s so good to be leveling up and becoming a wiser and more complete version of yourself.
The VI of Pentacles shows that need to stay in the present moment and evaluation things. Yes, it feels like you have lost a lot. Perhaps you have lost your ability to live your life the way you were living it and now need to find a new home, job, partner, spiritual practice, etc. There is grief in that loss. At the same time, you have gained so much wisdom, awareness, conscious presence, and knowledge. You no longer have to live in the chains of your previous understanding. You are free to reinvent yourself in the present, which is exactly what the VI of Pentacles would have you do.
This process of evaluation allows you to release the old and let in the new. This is the balancing act represented by the scales the figure holds in the image on the left here. Left is a constant shifting of resources. Life is a constant give and take. You receive so much abundance from life but it also requires that you give a lot in return. In the transition period after you discovery blind spot, you will have to readjust the balance of your life, you will need to allow time to tilt the scales from, "everything is horrible and confusing” back to, “things make sense again.” Give yourself permission to experiment and make allowances and small adjustments on a daily basis. You will slowly rediscover equilibrium.
This is difficult work. This is terrifying work. This is shadow work. Sometimes you are going to want to escape from it and go back to the VI of Cups energy, when you were ignorant of your blind spot and things were easy and beautiful. Perhaps you were quite happy with the way things were. You liked your job, or relationship, or home life, or religious community, etc. The VI of Cups grieves for that past idyll, that one that is tainted and changed by your new perspective. The VI of Cups can speak to a longing for what no longer is, tinged with a tough new realization that it wasn’t even what you are remembering it to be. There is a nostalgia for your former ignorance. Ignorance was bliss, and now that bliss is unavailable to you.
The VI of Cups calls for you to be gentle with yourself during this transition period. Perhaps you can not go back to the way things were before, but you can bring back some things from the past. There are probably activities, hobbies, or dreams that you had as a child that you can bring back now and enact or explore. During a transition period it can be helpful to do some of the things on your bucket list that have been languishing. You might want to learn to speak a new language, or play an instrument, or take an art class. Maybe it’s time to go on the trip you always longed to take, or visit old friends, or dust off your color books and spend time being creative. The things you loved to do as a child can soothe you in a period of transition. They can also awaken you to new levels of creativity and self-satisfaction. It feels good to let your inner child play, especially when things may not have felt good otherwise for a while now.
The thing is, we all have blind spots. All of us, no exceptions. And as much as we might like to help other people avoid the negative experiences we had by sharing our knowledge, most people just have to go through their own negative experiences in order to learn their lessons. We are each here to learn something, to confront obstacles, to figure out how to suffer and what the point of all our suffering can be. The VI of Wands shows that you can be proud of yourself for weathering your storm, for getting through some hard shit, for not giving up when things got tough. You should be proud of yourself and you should share your hard-learned lessons with others. Do not be shy of patting yourself on the back and appreciating yourself. You deserve that. You kept your eyes open when things came up that you didn’t really want to see, and you are now more fully awakened because of that effort. Good on you!
The warning with the VI of Wands is not to focus too intently upon some ideal future of prestige and importance that your new perspective has given you. Perhaps you see yourself as an expert now on upleveling and spend all your time daydreaming about a future in which you’re the authority on something, a person who will help others uplevel. You could be someone who’s going to fix that problem you had so that no one else ever has it. That is, indeed, a noble idea, but projecting yourself into the role of hero in the future does not actually further your transitional healing in the present. The VI of Wands advises you not to get ahead of yourself, make yourself a martyr, or imagine that you can fix someone else’s blind spot. Just be proud of your own transition and let that be enough for now.
The VIs of the tarot are a bit of calm after the storm of the Vs. There is still much work to do to get through the cycle of I-X of each minor arcana suit, but for now, the VI allows for a moment to pause and allow change to happen within. The Vs are the outside circumstances that have shifted while the VIs are the inner shifts that need to take place for those outside changes to integrate and make sense for who you are now. Remember, you are always you in a sense, always the same conscious being, but what the consciousness consists of grows and evolves as you do. Tarot shows that journey in all of its complexity.