Cards for the Day: Rising Like a Phoenix From the Ashes of Depression

Three cards popped out of the deck at me today. Maybe the cards had been feeling neglected since I haven’t done a cards for the day reading in a couple of days (I haven’t been feeling well — starting to suspect I might be part of the whooping cough epidemic, but maybe it’s just a bad lingering cold). Coincidentally, over the weekend I watched Donnaleigh de LaRose’s video on how she does her tarot readings, using additional rows of cards to show what led up to the cards she drew initially. So I decided to apply Donnaleigh’s technique to today’s cards, though in a more limited way (two extra rows instead of three, to make a perfect square with the three cards that popped out initially). Here’s what it looked like (the first three cards are on the top):

The basic idea here is that the cards laid out under the first cards that were drawn show what is leading up to those cards — how the energy represented by the cards on top came about, so to speak. The cards in the top row here show three different things happening today:

The Sun--Yoga TarotThe Sun: a release from (or at least a temporary lifting of) the depression that many of us went through over the last few days — causing us to rise like a phoenix from our own ashes, almost as if we had literally come back to life. And that is what it may feel like.

Reversed Ace of Pentacles: Family connections are blocked. Ace of Pentacles reversed--Yoga Tarot

Reversed Nine of Chalices: Feelings of detachment, and calm, but turned upside down. Even though our emotions may have calmed since the weekend, we are still feeling discombobulated or turned upside down — but some element of calm is still with us — it’s been turned upside down with us, if that’s possible.

Nine of Chalices reversed--Yoga TarotWhat do we find out about these unusual cards if we follow the columns down to see what led up to each one?

First column: Below The Sun, I see the Ten of Chalices and Eight of Wands. The Eight of Wands represents concentration, and shows a yogi in warrior one pose. Each of us, especially during times of depression, has our own struggle to grapple with, a struggle of the spirit. This warrior pose represents that for me. It represents a strong act of will power and discipline, and it’s paralleled by the pose on the The Sun card. To me this suggests that despite the negative emotions and the strong desire to creep inside like a hermit and sleep all day during depression, we may have pushed ourselves just a bit over the weekend to try to nudge our way out. We may have said to ourselves, “come on, at least do the laundry.” Or we may have taken time to go out for a walk or read a book — something that could start to move that blocked energy, just a little, but enough to create some momentum that we can see the results of today. Next we see the Ten of Cups, a card that to me looks as though it has love written all over it — and if you do warrior one pose as depicted on these cards, you’ll find that physically, you can’t help but open up your heart chakra. So perhaps the willful act that brought us to a sunnier place was more than just doing the laundry. Maybe we did the laundry for someone else, literally or metaphorically. Maybe we took some time to forgive, or to talk with another person about something that was bothering us, or simply made some small kind gesture like cleaning up or doing the laundry. These small gestures, particularly when committed as an act of grace, with a feeling of unconditional love and no hope of reward, are not really small at all in their effects on us. They start the movement of energy in a small way; the momentum builds up; and at a later time, we find that our mood has improved markedly.

Second column: the reversed Ace of Pentacles, or blocked family connections. This is a common thing to see in cases of depression. People who are depressed don’t like to talk or to reach out to family members. There are two schools of thought on this: one school is that it’s important to reach out and talk to people anyway, and the other school is that it’s important to take time for solitude and reflection as part of healing. But never mind that right now. What led up to this? Reversed three of wands (flexibility reversed equals rigidity) and reversed Magician (lack of attention to the individual and that individual’s intentions). To me, this says that family members may not understand depression. They react with rigid points of view and lectures. They don’t pay attention to the individual experiencing depression or what that individual’s hopes, dreams, goals, and intentions may be. That’s what leads to a block in family connections. Why is this block still here even if the depression, by today, has cleared to some extent? Because family blocks don’t clear up that fast.

Why don’t family blocks clear up faster? Well, in cases of depression, family members who sense that something is wrong will want to walk in and start running the show to make things better, simply because they care intensely and they want to fix the problem. But nobody with an ounce of spirit and free will (and to be depressed, you have to have plenty of spirit to start with) is going to take kindly to other people walking in and telling them what to do. It’s just not going to go over well. It will cause strife. Even if the depressed person does put up with it, there will be resentment, and it also won’t work, because you can’t do another person’s spiritual work for them no matter how much you may want to.

Third column: calm that stays with us even when we are turned upside-down. I honestly think this is another feature of depression. Depressed people spend a lot of time alone and in reflection, even if they don’t consider themselves to be meditators. This produces calm. And the depression itself produces a sense of detachment, because part of depression is simply not caring any more what happens next. Not taking action in your world to maintain all the infrastructure that keeps us pulled together (and by infrastructure I mean holding down a job, keeping up with housework, eating properly, exercising, taking care of ourselves) can result in being turned upside down by the consequences: debt, health problems, family problems, problems galore. So it’s not hard to see where this card is coming from. But let’s look at the cards leading up to it: Seven of Chalices (giving up illusions) and reversed Knight of Swords (rationality, fixed ideas, a test that challenges those ideas). The being turned upside down and the not caring that much any more are intimately connected with the fact that our ideas about the world, the things we thought we could depend on, were torn away — leading to disillusionment, and ultimately, a medical state of shock. Because what is the calm that stays even when you are turned upside-down? Often, it is shock — emotional shock, maybe even spiritual shock. Medically, shock is treated with first aid. So this card suggests to me that even though our mood overall may be sunnier today, there is a still a need for emotional first aid or spiritual first aid to help alleviate this shock.

This is a lot to throw at you on a Monday, and I would greatly have preferred some simpler cards today that would be easier to read. But at the same time, I think the Yoga Tarot’s insights into depression are on target — please let me know if this makes any sense to you! 🙂


    1. Thank you very much! I’m glad to hear it and appreciate you taking the time to comment. I am trying to get the cards up earlier in the day, actually…but it’s a continuing challenge. So I’m especially glad you commented–knowing that someone out there is reading these several hours ahead of me will help inspire me to be faster! 🙂


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