Mentally ill, looking to playing cards for guidance

The new age book store smelled heavily of incense, of course, and so did my purchases when I brought them home. The DBT workbook still has scent lingering on it. I hadn’t gone to the store planning to buy the DBT workbook, but it caught my eye and, seeing as my Broken Brain Syndrome is being particularly vile at the moment, I figured it was worth a shot. So I bought it, along with a Rider-Waite tarot deck, which is what I had actually set out to acquire. With the plastic wrap off, the cards smell like nothing, so I figure I’ll wave them around in a cloud of my own English Leather incense (the incense that smells of Christopher Tietjens, the patron saint of repressing the hell out of your emotions — which according to both my therapist and the DBT workbook I should really stop doing, but come on, it’s so much fun).

I’ve been impulsively diving into new hobbies (like embroidery), so once I got home I just shuffled the cards and immediately did a five card spread that I had watched a friend of mine do before. The card that represented my present was the Six of Swords, which I found delightfully grim.

Row row row your punt gently down the stream. Scarily scarily scarily scarily life will make you scream.

A post shared by R. E. Morris (@blithewine) on

Due to aforementioned Broken Brain Syndrome, I’ve recently buggered up my life something fierce; I have had to drop out of grad school, and am in the process of moving into my parents’ basement. It feels like a spectacular failure on one hand, but a great relief on the other. I’ve stopped trying to do things I can’t do (like force myself to stay in academia) and am instead punting along with the current, ready to explore new places. Maybe I will actually become a beekeeper. The Six of Swords thus seems appropriate. It also reminds me of Caspar David Friedrich’s On the Sailing Boat. Caspar David Friedrich was adept at painting people’s backs as they moodily stared into the distance, probably choking down a consumptive cough (how Romantic).

Either I’m Very Good at tarot, or Really Bad at it, because before even learning the common interpretations of the various cards, I just started lazily assigning my own. I do check meanings on the ATA website, which aforementioned Five Card Spread Friend recommended, but I take them as a very general guideline and mostly just do whatever I want.

This card represents my drinking problem.

As with pretty much everything I’m engaged in at the moment, tarot is just another way to gain some control over my Broken Brain Syndrome. Mental illness is one wild ride. I frequently wake up at 5am, after only a few hours of sleep, and entertain fantasies of punching the sun as I watch light creep into the world. I can’t sleep, but I’m too tired to do much of anything. 70% of the time all food tastes and feels like instant oatmeal. Sometimes my memory completely malfunctions and I get confused about where I should be and what I should be doing. Sometimes I get very drunk and nearly throw myself off a tall building. “What dumb self-destructive thing will I do next,” I wonder excitedly, waking up hungover and unfortunately still alive. But on a positive note, I guess, I am still alive. I’m alive enough to wake up at 5am, as I did this morning, shuffle my tarot deck and draw, as my card of the day, Death. Death is a good card in the Rider-Waite deck. A glowing bishop welcomes the sweet release of Death, and various figures swoon before Death, overcome by how handsome and perfect he is. I’m glad I woke up and drew Death today.

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