Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
― Søren Kierkegaard

Sometimes, we find ourselves feeling sad and down, and we’re not even sure what caused it. It can be hard to pinpoint the source of our malaise, and that adds frustration to the mix, and we often find ourselves adding a big helping of self-blame to boot. It’s difficult not to get hung up on the question, “Why am I feeling like this?”

This week’s reader, L.A., asked much the same: Why am I currently suffering so much emotional pain, and is there anything I can do about it?

L.A., I’m sorry to hear that you’re having such a rough time. It seems to be going around. Let’s see what the Tarot has to say about your situation– and maybe we can even come up with some solutions or strategies that may help you work through your sadness, and into a happier state of being.

The spread I’m using today is the Star Spread, because it offers advice as well as clarity around the questions you asked.

Here we go.

Card 1, Where You Are Now: 5 of Cups, reversed

Need to let go of past disappointment. Mired in dissatisfaction with how one’s plans have turned out. Need to stop crying over spilt milk. What’s done is done.

L.A., when the 5 of Cups comes up in a reading in its reversed aspect, it may point to emotional distress over things that have happened in the past. Often, Our inclination is to get stuck in an endless loop of self-recrimination as we keep going over and over what we should have done, or what we could have done, or we focus obsessively on impossible scenarios– if only “x” had happened! Then, everything would be alright! If only! Here’s the deal: the old saying, “hindsight is 20/20” is absolutely correct. The truth is that you can’t change the past. You can learn from it, but you’re better off letting go of it and using your energy to focus on bettering your future instead.

The Magician

Card 2, Advice for the Situation: The Magician, reversed

Misuse of one’s talents or power. Not communicating. Worry about loss of independence or sense of agency. Feeling “played”, either by a person or by life. Not trusting what someone says to you. Lack of Will.

The advice that this card is giving to you is this: if you’re not happy with the way your life is going, or you feel that your talents and skills are either going unused, or being used for the wrong purpose– it’s up to you to invoke your Will, and change that. Here’s an old esoteric hack: start small. Tell yourself that you’re going to clean out that bulging kitchen drawer of detritus. Then, do it. Pick some other task, and accomplish that, too. Keep going, but progressively choose more and more important tasks, things that are relevant to moving you into a happier new life. What you’re doing here is building your Will. You are giving your words power. So, when you say, “I will do such-and-such”, your subconscious believes it! And you’ll reclaim your sense of agency in your own life. Once you do that, you’re on your way!

Card 3, The Challenge You Must Face: 5 of Wands

Distractions, distractions! Pulled in too many directions. Too many things competing for your attention. Resistance. Need to focus on problem-solving. Don’t sweat the small stuff!

It may be hard for you to focus more on moving towards positive new beginnings, when you keep getting distracted by anything and everything! If you’re feeling conflicted between your own needs and another, try stepping back from that and ask yourself what’s the healthiest thing that you can do for yourself right now? Are you putting others “wants” ahead of your own needs? On the other hand, if you are torn between this option and that option, the same applies: what is healthiest for you? What will bring you the most joy?

Card 4, Positive Uses of Your Energy At This Time: 6 of Cups, reversed

Trapped in memories of the past. Judging the people currently in your life by the transgressions of the people from your past. Refusal to embrace current circumstances in favor of wishing for the Good Old Days. Need to emotionally distance yourself from painful memories and relationships.

L.A., one of the best things you could do for yourself is to take a good look at your current circumstances and figure out what’s actually good about them. That’s what you should build on. Be careful about “red-flagging” new people in your life, because you see them do something that reminds you of someone from your past. All people are not alike. The same goes for work , personal situations, etc. Instead, try approaching new people and situations with trust and optimism.

Card 5, More Positive Actions: 5 of Pentacles, reversed

Returning to work. No longer consumed by money worries. Ceasing to deny yourself any sort of luxury. Learning to ask for what you need.

You may have become so accustomed to living in survival mode that it’s near impossible for you to be generous with yourself. Stop that! You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg, but it might be a good idea to lavish some love and attention on yourself! Banish the idea that you’ll never have enough.

Card 6, The Crucial Insight: 5 of Swords

Expecting the worst! Preparing for failure. Feeling betrayed.

If you habitually find yourself anticipating failure in your endeavors and betrayal in your personal relationships– it might be time to reevaluate your mindset, which may be a bit out of date! That “prepare for the worst” sensibility has its place, but right now, it’s preventing you from seeing the good things in your life. Instead, try this. Recognize that you have the ability to envision the worst outcome possible, and that most of the time, things actually don’t get nearly as bad as you think they will. Trust yourself and your inner strength and resilience. And then, consciously choose a life filled with joy instead of pain.

Wrapping It Up

L.A., the good news is that your situation, though painful, is mostly in your control. If you make an effort to move in a direction most likely to bring you happiness and fulfilling, you have an excellent chance of attaining it. Start today. The Past is over, and all that remains is what you do with the Future.

Submit your question to Raven now using the form here. Each week, Raven will choose a question and perform a personal Tarot card reading, offering her advice, insight, and wisdom based on what the cards say.