We all deeply desire love, connection, and intimacy. It’s hard-wired into us.
In competition with perhaps only career, most querents come to the cards seeking direction as it relates to the love in their lives. Some want to ease their anxiety about a potential date, others have trouble trusting their gut about a loved one, or, lost and bewildered, some just want general guidance.
Tarot provides a mirror for self-reflection. Despite the chorus of “self-love” advocates on social media, it’s clear that relational love is something that people deeply desire. Loneliness is a well-documented modern epidemic that has been exacerbated in recent years.
In honor of February and Valentine’s Day, let’s play with a little divination — a self-guided reading to help you get some insight into your own connections.
But before we start, first, relax. I’m serious. The mind has a way of confirming limiting beliefs, and the tarot often mirrors panic. Love is a triggering topic. So, if you’re already ruminating about an ex, or feeling pretty down today, your reading will reflect that. Go take care of yourself, and then come back to this when you’re feeling a bit lighter.
Okay, now, close your eyes for a second and think of a question related to your desired intimacy and connection. You could ask something as simple as what do I need to know about my love life?
If visualization is not too difficult for you, try to see where the question sits in your body, and notice what feelings might come up as you ponder it. No need to judge yourself or feel like you’re doing anything incorrectly, the idea is to just try and feel aligned to the question, and take this reading in good fun.
When you’re ready, choose a letter: A, B, C, D, or E.
Now scroll down to the card you chose.
A – The Lovers
Now, given its title, you’d think this card would be the most indicative of relationships. But funny enough, this card speaks to higher frequencies. It’s less concerned with your most recent boo, and more concerned with your relationship to your higher self. When this card comes up, it’s a wakeup call for you to connect back to the larger meaning of Love, the idea that you’re connected to a great and all-enduring source that’s here to take care of you and support you.
West African teacher, author, and activist Sobonfu Somé, in “The Spirit of Intimacy,” writes that the kind of passion and emotion that Westerners often seek from romantic love, in her village, people seek from spirit. She reminds readers that true intimacy is about a communion with what is sacred, and that we all have a purpose we’ve come here to affirm.
If you chose this card, it might be that romantic love is a bit of a diversion for you right now, and you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to find it. If that resonates with you, it might be a good time to get back into alignment with your higher purpose and goals and remind yourself that the scope of your life is so much bigger than a singular relationship.
Alignment also equals integrity. And so, this card reminds us to be our best selves. You might be in a situation where your ethics are being called in. So, love in this situation means doing the right thing — and deep down, you probably know what it is.
B – Princess of Sticks (Traditionally the Page of Wands )
They’re just so fine, right?
Not to burst your bubble, but I like to call this the “—-boy” card of the tarot. When this card comes up you might be fully enamored with someone. They seem to be checking all the boxes, well —
Maybe they’re really inconsistent with communication or, despite how attractive they are, you’re worried about if they’re really being open and honest.
Something just doesn’t sit right with you, but maybe it’s just you? Maybe you’re just being too sensitive?
Court Cards in the tarot (Pages, Knights, Kings, and Queen cards) speak to characters in our lives. The Page of Wands, as the most immature of the fire suit, is here for a good time, and doesn’t quite know what to do with all of their energy. The Page of Wands asks you to think about the types of folks you’re attracted to, and why you’re attracted to them, especially the ones that put you back in unhealthy situational patterns. There’s a psychological term known as repetition compulsion, where, in an attempt to solve old wounds, we are subconsciously attracted to others who help us replay outdated patterns.
If you chose this card, and you’ve been finding yourself super obsessed with someone who’s not quite returning the favor, gently consider whether or not the person you’re obsessed with is really all that great, or if it’s an old story that you’re trying to re-write the chapter on. Daye’s rendition of this card, a portrayal of Hesperides, a nymph tasked with protecting a sacred garden, uplifts the creative vibrancy of this card — perhaps all that goodness you’re seeing in this potential partner is really a reflection of your own lush inner landscape?
Psychotherapist Imi Lo helps us explore this card by putting a funny spin on the term “soulmate.” She notes that there are differences between “soulmates” and “life partners.” A soulmate might be the incredibly sexy, funny, and smart person that feels like our destined twin flame. But this doesn’t necessarily mean they will be a kind, reliable, and trustworthy life partner. If you’re lucky, you’ll find both, but she reminds us that we either have a choice to pursue the ultimate soulmate that can double as a life-partner, or be satisfied with a loving life partner, and use other connections in our lives to fill our intimacy gaps.
If you find yourself with someone who has you re-writing an old story, you might subtly smile to yourself and acknowledge this is just a soulmate, while you move forward on finding the life partner that doesn’t send your nervous system into code red.
But, if you’ve got the stamina to look for both in the same person, more power to you!
“True intimacy is about a communion with what is sacred, and that we all have a purpose we’ve come here to affirm. ”
C – 2 of Cups
The 2 of Cups is the card you want to get in a relationship reading. If you’re currently interested in someone or in a relationship, this card bodes well. It suggests that there is some sort of synergy between the two folks. The energy is flowing, and it’s worth exploring or maintaining.
If you’re single and this card comes up, it’s likely a good sign that your independence has you exactly where you want to be right now. You’re in alignment with your path, trusting and taking care of yourself. It’s a reminder that you are more than capable of healing from your past wounds, and you might’ve been able to use this time to heal from past hurts.
Let this card be the validation you need that you’re doing a good job. Keep going.
D – 3 of Cups
Think of this as the Galentine’s Day card. The meaning is straightforwardly deduced from the image, traditionally, it features three characters holding up three cups as if to make a toast. It speaks to a party or some sort of celebration.
You literally might have some festivities coming up. Have fun.
Otherwise, this card asks you to reflect on the company you keep. While many of us pine for romantic love, the love of our friends and community is oftentimes most direct and salient. Unlike romantic relationships, we enter friendships with the expectation that many of them last forever, and as such, difficulties or breaks in friendships can be just as devastating as breakups with romantic partners.
We also tend to take our friendships for granted. We obsess over potential or past lovers, while ignoring all the rich love that’s in front of us.
This card is asking you to value your friendships just as much as your romantic partnerships or your desire for them. Friendships need to be nurtured. So, use this card as a sign to reach out to an old friend, nurture a current one, or invest in a burgeoning one.
You might also take the trio in this card literally. It could speak to concerns between three individuals, and you have to be skillful and wise in navigating your role between all parties involved.
E – 3 of Swords
You deserve some rest.
This card means what it looks like — heartbreak. When this card comes up, some level of trust has been broken, and right now it feels difficult to be hopeful about the situation. The suit of Swords in the tarot represents our thoughts, and so the breach of trust has likely been compounded with obsessive thoughts.
Jessica Dore, author of “Tarot for Change,” has a beautiful write up for this card. Drawing from her research as a mental health practitioner, she discusses how in the wake of heartbreak, we often lead with one of three key emotions: anger, shame/guilt, or sadness. The one we allow to emerge first was the safest for us to express in our childhoods.
Since the leading emotion is often a mask to protect from the other more uncomfortable ones, the goal is to allow ourselves to experience our authentic range of emotions. She writes:
“… our work is to notice the way in which we haven’t made space … so that our emotions do not become lodged in the heart, in turn keeping us stuck in old thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that betray our growth and well-being …”
According to positive psychology research, the more we can allow ourselves to feel everything, without judgment, the more wellness we can secure for ourselves. If you chose this card, first, I’m so sorry about what happened to you, and second, this card is a call to transmute your emotions.
Talking with safe people, creating art, dancing, journaling — or quite simply, sitting with your emotions, noticing them in your body, without trying to fight or struggle against them, are key ways to let the emotions alchemize and move in a way that’s healthy for you.
What you went through was hard, so be a gentle and compassionate ally for yourself as you heal.
Aaron Talley is a writer, activist, and educator currently based in Chicago, Illinois. His writings, which explore the intersections between identity, spirituality, education, and mental health, have been published in various blog and media outlets, including The Advocate, Education Post, and The Nation. Represented by KT Literary, he is currently working on a Young Adult novel which puts a speculative spin on adolescent mental health. When not writing, reading, or teaching, or you can find him watching anime or playing the latest Japanese RPG. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan. You can follow him on Twitter: @Talley_Marked