For some of us, the US election result felt like ‘a Tower moment’.
A lightening bolt. There you are, standing, watching this disastrous thing happen, reeling and trying to catch your breath. To get your head arround what just happened, what it means. Why this happened.
This lightening bolt shocked many of us, though not all. Behind the white folks crying ‘WTF?’ and ‘How could this have happened?’ are plenty of others who have been telling us this for ever. People of colour and others who know on a personal level how racist, how fearful, how unjust our societies are, have been shouting and campaigning and demonstrating. And yet here we are. We were shocked about Brexit. We were shocked about Trump. We wondered how people could be ‘so stupid’. We never thought it would come to this. But these people who voted for Brexit and Trump are not stupid. They are afraid. Because that is how this works.
And I need you to know: you have never been more needed, more wanted, more loved.
Your strength and your brilliance have never been needed more. Trump’s election has shown – to those of us who needed showing – how much work there is to do. We begin with ourselves. As Rachel Kinkaid wrote (and Rachel always hits the nail on the head): we grieve, and then we get to work.
On Thursday, I posted a message of love to everyone who is feeling scared right now. Marginalised people in the US are scared for their safety, their rights, their health, their friends and loved ones. Elsewhere, folks look on, scared for what this means for our world, seeing that racism and fear reflected in their own communities, in their own countries.
I offered to draw cards for each of you, to ask the tarot for reminders of your strength and your brilliance, to encourage, support or inspire you.
Requests came in, usually accompanied by heart-wrenching messages about the effects this election is having on readers of this blog. Many, many were asking what you could do, saying how powerless you felt, and how hopeless, and how angry. Others told me how they were supporting friends, describing the loved ones they were most afraid for. I reached my capacity for these readings and have now ended this service (thank you so much, to everyone who opened up, who connected) but I thought it might be helpful to share some of the cards that showed up over and over.
What’s most surprising to me was that the most common cards weren’t Strength, The Empress, The World and other inspiring, ‘caring’ cards. They were cards with shadows, cards that looked pain in the face and bore witness to that pain. The Three of Swords, and the Ten. The Eight of Cups. The Seven of Swords. This reading experience was dominated by those ‘difficult’ cards, yet in these readings, they showed how there is hope even in shadow.
All cards are from the Kitty Kahane Tarot.
Eight of Cups
There is great strength in walking away from something that just isn’t working any more. There is great strength in acknowledging the truth and, no matter how hard that truth is, acting from there. The election has shown us so many of the lies we have believed, it has shown us how hollow some of our beliefs are. It’s time to find new beliefs, new principles, to move away from what served us then, and towards what is true.
You have a role here, a real strength. You can hold up a mirror, you can facilitate the transition that we all must now make. You can encourage those – who did not realise how broken the system was, how deep fear and racism run, how precarious justice and equality are – to move forwards. With heavy hearts, yes, but with renewed hope, with the wisdom and the lessons that have come from this result, towards new and higher ground from which to continue the fight. Use your own knowledge, your ability to hold space, your relentless belief in our ability to get out of our own way and see truth, to move yourself and others to this higher ground.
Three of Swords
A witness to the pain you feel, which runs deep, and true. It is so beautiful and so powerful that you feel this pain, it’s so real. Whilst others celebrate, whilst the world reels in shock, you know in your heart what this means for so many. Let this sadness be a source of power to you, not a source of despair or hopelessness. The Three of Swords breaks our hearts, and then sends us on our way, hurting, but stronger for it. We have a fight on our hands and your strong heart is what we need now, your heart, which has the capacity to feel all of that pain and still come out fighting and loving and beating a drum… that is what we need. Connect with that big beautiful broken heart of yours, listen to what it is saying. It is not saying ‘give up’, it is saying ‘love’. And love is a verb.
Ten of Swords
The Ten of Swords looks to the future from a place of real pain. It raises its head from the mud, from the cold hard earth of a bloody defeat, sees the sun rising on the horizon, and declares this the end of a cycle. This moment is one of utter despair, one fuelled by fear on every side. That despair is real and it is okay and right to be with it and be in it, to feel that pain, that sorrow, that anger. But it is also a turning point. A springboard. Though there is nothing good about this election result, it has caused people to wake up, to wake up to the realities of racism and inequality. After the Ten we return to the Ace, to a new perspective, a new truth, a clearer vision. You are not broken. Can you step forwards from this moment of despair, and begin the next cycle, stronger and wiser and more determined than ever to create a world of justice?
Ace of Cups
It’s time for a new world order and you are one of its leaders. Your great source of power and brilliance? You are all heart, a big, beating heart that pumps loving blood around the world. Your love is felt wherever you go. It is your superpower. You can reinvent this world. Start small, with your close relationships and your friendship groups. Start with your relationship with yourself. Learn the difference between acting from a truly loving place, and reacting, and fuelling fear and despair even though it may look supportive. Roll out your loving revolution into your communities, your family. Take it further.
This is not about ‘love and light’ but about the real, tangible difference that love can make. This is about acting from a place of real compassion – not everybody finds this easy, I’ll bet even you don’t always, but it is an incredible gift of yours. Be the change, and let it be directly from your heart. Begin today.
Seven of Swords
When hate and fear triumph, it’s easy to feel powerless, to be reminded of your smallness and told (because it’s designed this way, to tell you) that you are insignificant, that you cannot change anything. But queer folks, trans folks, people of colour, everyone who has ever lived in the margins, have tricks up our sleeves. We have counter culture, community, creativity. We have boldness and bravery. We have each other. Our existence is transgression, protest, activism. This card is about what goes on beneath the surface, about using the tools you have available, even if these aren’t orthodox. They don’t know what we’re capable of, what you and your community are capable of. But you will show them.
Five of Pentacles
Moments like this, when hate gets a victory, when fear wins out over love, create despair, loneliness, and more fear. Politicians who choose this path know what they are doing, they divide us and they conquer us, they make us feel that we are alone, that there is no support, that there is no hope.
Your job is to prove this wrong. Gather your people. Reach out to anyone – even just one person – who is alone right now, who is fearful. Immediately you have a community of two. Reach out to another person. Then you have three. There is so much support and power and love here. Think about the safe spaces that you appreciate, physically in your home town, online, elsewhere. They are needed now more than ever. Support those safe spaces where communities can gather and support each other. Donate, volunteer if you can, or simply be there, adding your voice, your strength, your support. It makes a huge difference.
Five of Wands
A card of conflict and disruption, a card for challenging the order. This is not about grand gestures, grabbing the mic, changing the world – or at least, it is about those things, but on a microcosmic level. Fight for the people you know, the people you love by continually upsetting the system. By being yourselves, proudly (when you feel safe to do so). The time of smiling and nodding, of blending in, of trying to make yourself acceptable, is past. Don’t despair if you can’t do the ‘big things’ – small actions count, and this is personal. We all must fight in the ways that we can and this card reminds you that the very smallest transgressions have the power to challenge the system and create safety for the marginalised.
You can draw strength, brilliance and inspiration from your connection to your inherited past. Whatever your identities, in whatever ways you are oppressed or threatened right now, look to the grandparents of your community. How did your forgoers fight? What tools did they use, what words, what tactics? Dig into the legacy you have inherited from those people, they are watching you now, they are rooting for you. They understand that this is a huge blow, a setback on the road to the revolution, but they are telling you you can do it. Study the history of your community and allow those ancestors to speak through you. Continue their work and teach others to do the same. Your community needs you to do this.
It is the very core of who you are, the thing that makes you you, that is needed now. Vulnerable and strong, your existence, unapologetic, is a challenge to the pain in this world. Remember who you are in this moment, remember who you have always been. You are always changing, yet you are always your self. Let that self truly emerge now, show it to the world. Let all of your actions, all of your words, come from this essence of who you are, the kindest, most loving, most honest you.
You do not have to be perfect, or brave, or right – you only have to be your self now. That in itself is a radical, revolutionary act.
Never forget how beautiful, brilliant and strong you are.