Ten of Wands tarot card on slate speckled with lichen

As part of my tarot practice I enjoy a 13-card spread I call my wheel of the year—12 cards for the individual months and a single card for the year as a whole. While I don’t believe in predictive tarot, I love using these as “anchor cards” (or significators) in later tarot readings, and as meditative prompts throughout the year, deepening my understanding of the card’s applicable magic and medicine. Most recently I was given new insights into my July card, the 10 of Wands, though after spending the last month working with its magic, I feel I have only begun to scratch the surface.

A recent reading of this card by Jessica Dore particularly struck me. “Sometimes when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we move mountains to prove our goodness to others, hoping they might be the one who can give our goodness to us. And sometimes when we don’t feel worthy of love, we encourage others to depend on us so we can experience an inkling of worthiness.”

As a cis-gendered womxn who grew up in a patriarchal society, I inherited false beliefs surrounding my personal value in relation to both my self-sufficiency and my status as caregiver. Through behavior modeled by adults and the fairy tale lies we are told as children, I came to believe in the powerful “goodness” of self-sacrifice.

Throughout my life I have witnessed role models who strove to prove their value through self-sacrifice and boundless support, often to their own detriment.  In turn, I accepted and internalized the “compliment” from cisgender male partners, “You’re not like other girls,” not recognizing the inherent misogyny at face value but instead priding myself on asking for so little from a partner.

Recently I was reminded of those moments when speaking with a friend about what we were currently reading, and my admission that I was finding a “self-help” book to be, indeed, helpful. My friend confessed that she too had read the book in question, but was loathe to admit to others that she read “self-help” books. Even the admission that we’d needed to seek outside support was hushed, private.

 Where does this stigma come from?

I’ve mentioned the patriarchy’s arbitrary assignment of roles like “caregiver,” but that feels like only a part of the problem. I think that one of the most insidious lies we are told as Americans is that of American exceptionalism. We perpetuate stories of rugged individualism, of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, and congratulate those who exude a “Puritan work ethic” in all things. Capitalism’s myth of the meritocracy keeps us caught up in feeding this lie, rather than acknowledging a truth that this pandemic has laid bare: we are all so deeply interconnected.

And in keeping us feeling isolated and continually striving without the benefit of a web of mutual aid, those benefiting from these systems of power have been reaping the rewards.

So after many years of denying my needs and my own worthiness, I am (slowly) coming around to accepting that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. Really, such a simple idea is upsetting a lot of old beliefs for me! 

What are your feelings towards asking for help? I invite you to explore these themes with the X of Wands. First, pull the card from your deck and meditate on it alone, journaling if helpful. What are your first impressions? Then, keeping the X of Wands as your anchor card, shuffle the deck as you usually would, and then draw four cards:

  1. What is the energy behind the weight bearing down on you?
  2. What may you recognize about your current burden? Are there unseen/hidden elements at play?
  3. Where can you ask for support? A friend? A professional?
  4. What energy are you being invited to step into? What can you learn about this process?

If you feel called to share your readings on social media, be sure to tag @hedgewitchbotanicals so that I can see your posts!

Did you enjoy this tarot spread? Check out more of the Tarot for Mindfulness series…

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