Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5 of Water on the Last Day of School

My oldest daughter is transitioning from middle school to high school, and today is her last day of 8th grade. While she's extremely excited about being "in the big leagues" she's understandably bittersweet about leaving an entire school and social structure behind. She was giggling and dancing around the kitchen last night, noticeably anxious, and she said rather off-handedly, "Mom, do a reading for me about tomorrow!" I couldn't in that moment, but this morning I agreed to pull a card for her. Each time we ask her how she feels, and if she's sad, she says, "Well I'm really excited for next year!! But I am gonna miss my friends and teachers!" We remind her that she can see her friends over the summer, and encourage her to copy down phone numbers so they can make plans to see each other. Some of these friends will go to her new high school, but not everyone (including her big 8th grade crush, which she's particularly upset about).  So I shuffled my new Gaian Tarot, and as I went to select her card, I had one of those moments where you just *know* what the card is even before you turn it over:

5 of Water - Gaian Tarot
Joanna Powell Colbert

My daughter had wandered off down the hall, so I called to her to let her know I'd finished her draw. I showed her the card and she said "Oh my god, that's me!!" And I said "Yes - I asked 'how does Isa feel about her last day of school?' and this is what came up. Kinda perfect, don't you think?" She agreed. And moments like this are some of those that highlight how deeply grateful I am to be a card reader, because sometimes all you need is confirmation of how you're really feeling - the permission to be bummed out without being apologetic for it, or minimizing it. She smiled and we chatted a bit about her thoughts, and then she ran off to get ready for school.

This version of the 5 of Cups, or 5 of Water, is one of my favorites of all time because it's so real. There is no real symbolism in this card, apart from the gray skies. The young woman gazes across the lake or bay, solemn and withdrawn. She's holding a hot mug of steaming tea, and really sitting with - experiencing - her melancholy. We've all been there at some point or another. We don't need to see the three spilt cups to get the idea that there's sadness here, nor do we need to see two cups standing in order to understand that this feeling won't last forever. And rather than putting a silver lining on the sense of mourning by reminding ourselves that "this too shall pass," it's nice to be allowed to honor that "space," even if only for a moment.

So I wish my daughter a wonderful, comforting last day of middle school, full of hugs, laughter, and friends' numbers. May she find strength in letting go, and joy in the road ahead!


  1. How interesting that you drew this card for Isa just after our brief discussion about how much we both liked it!

    Also, I really agree with your thought that the simple acknowledgement we can receive from an apt card-draw can lift a bit of the burden. It's a lovely thing to know and one of the reasons I find tarot such a comfort.

    May Isa's transition be a gentle one--more sweet than bitter.

    1. Thanks, Jamie! I know, it's funny that this card made an appearance! It gave me another opportunity to appreciate it. Isa's day went pretty well, and she is happy to be a 9th grader now :)

  2. Hi Olivia! I am so glad Isa had a good last day at school! It is also a good thing she has a whole summer to process this change so there is enough time to be sad without having to rush to the next challenge of high school
    This card is beautiful. I don't have the deck but is still on my wishlist.:)
    I also love the way how Tarot can be such a clear mirror for how we truly feel.

    1. Thanks, Ellen! Yeah, she will have some time to process, and then also she'll be spending a month in another state with her grandparents, which she's extremely excited about, so that will be a very positive distraction! And I think she's looking forward to the adventurous unknown of high school. This deck has several cards that I really love for their beautiful interpretations of various meanings - aside from the 5 of Water, another is the Devil card, titled "Bindweed." And the Child of Fire is an excellent Page of Wands! :)