It’s 1.30 am, winter solstice, 21st December. I’m snuggled on sofa cushions on the floor of a dear friend’s house and I suddenly can’t sleep.
A card is what I need. The Six of Cups. Here it is, drawn from the Wild Unknown Tarot, by Kim Krans:
I usually associate this card with nostalgia – often unhealthy, possibly rose-tinted, usually inhibitive. I do love looking back, but not when it prevents a movement forwards, but sometimes it’s important to stop and look back the way you’ve come. The view is different from here. Moving forwards is wonderful, and growth and development are the very stuff of living, but if you forget where you’ve come from then how can you possibly learn?
This card reminds me that I have roots. Deep, colourful, strong, damaged roots. When I think of every mistake I’ve made in my life, I now know I wouldn’t change a thing, because the sum of each of those mistakes, along with every right decision, has brought me to the point where I now am, and right here…well, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Today I posted a card I’d been carrying around with me for a week. To an old friend – we no longer speak – inviting reconciliation. She was my oldest friend – we’d met at 8 and been best friends since 12. If I think of roots, my god, she’s the deepest. The single most formative person in my life, apart from my parents. She saw me through everything and out the other side. It’s not okay to talk about her here – that writing I keep to myself.
And speaking of my parents, in a few days I’ll be with them, for Christmas as it is every year, reassuringly samey, lovely, warm, loving, funny, sweet, delicious and safe. Each year when I spend time with my family I’m reminded how similar I am to them. Growing up, I was so keen to emphasise our differences, so desperate to leave home, leave these straight, super-normal, ‘they-just-don’t-understand-me’ people who loved me despite all that. Now that I’m all grown up and living the life I choose, I can enjoy our similarities – the way my mum’s laugh is exactly like mine, and her readiness to express it, my two brothers’ quick-fire sarcasm, my dad’s stubbornness and eagerness to please, and my grandmother’s tendency to ramble. My family taught me how to love and how to fight, they made me into a kind person but also a confrontational one – often too proud to back down or give ground. My friend’s upbringing was very different and I always struggled to understand how that might make us different…until it was too late. The gifts of my family and the way I chose to interpret and use them – I’ve been proud of these things, but also I’ve used them badly and hurt others. Looking back, I can understand this now.
We all have roots, whether we like it or not. It’s taken me a very long time to be proud of mine. I’ve no idea if my friend will respond to my card or if she feels any need to reconcile. I don’t feel that need any more, though I wish it were possible for us to make peace. And I want her to know how incredibly important she has always been, and will always be, to me.