First, A Shout-Out
If you haven’t already been introduced to the ethereal & healing goodness of Lindsay Mack’s work, allow me to introduce you. Part of Lindsay’s offering is a podcast in which she channels the energetic themes & lessons of the month ahead, including a mantra. I was so inspired by her episode for April that I had to make this long post about it. Before going any further, I highly recommend listening to the most recent episode here.
Lindsay’s mantra for April is The Mirror. She says April will be all about “looking in the mirror and seeing: what’s my attitude?... Where am I stuck in a lack mindset? Where are the spots in my mirror that are smudged?...Do I keep trying to see something different in the mirror?”
To summarize the podcast in my own words, (though I highly recommend you listen to Lindsay’s extended version) this “mirror-work” has a lot to do with investigating and shedding light on the areas of our lives that we don’t want to acknowledge because they may be painful, ugly, taboo or seemingly incompatible with the dreams we are actively manifesting. I know this work intimately; I can be really good about avoiding the mirror if I’m not feeling my outfit or my skin or hair or makeup on a particular day. I know where all the mirrors are and I know not to look at them, but that never means that I forget what I am avoiding.
The Tarot Spread
I was moved to do a tarot reading for myself on the subject of the mirror. At first, I was going to pull two cards: one card for the way I am attempting to look in the mirror, aspects of myself that I am proud of or even trying to push forward into my people’s perceptions of me. And of course, one card for the reflection I am avoiding. Then, as I visualized the layout, I felt it was essential to also draw a card for the mirror itself. Below, you can see the spread I created & the cards that came up for me.
It was no shock (but it was one of those "When-The-Cards-Read-You" moments) that I pulled the Devil card as the mirror itself. Lindsay also notes the prevalence of the Devil card in this month’s energy (or “medicine” as she calls it). I noted the Devil card a few days back during a large-scale reading event I did on March 28. I read for 30+ people and about a third of them got the Devil card- and these were only 3-5 card readings! It was very clear to me that the Devil card was showing up for this period of early Aries energy & the mercury retrograde we are currently in the midst of.
Here’s what Lindsay had to say about the Devil card, which I found enlivening: “The Devil card does not come up unless one of two things are happening: we are beginning to expand, say ‘Yes!’, move through a soul expansion and the brain is freaking out and is scrambling to invite us into some old BS that does not serve us (which we can always say ‘No, thank you to’)...or, we’re being invited to befriend a part of our shadow that is ready to be built into the fold.”
The Devil card is the one that, I think, scares people the most. I believe the Devil card is about fear itself, and how our very tendency to avoid the discomfort fear gives us is a product of fear! I caught up with a close friend last week who explained how her panic attacks were always about having more anxiety- she would have panic attacks due to her very fear of experiencing anxiety itself. How many of us can relate?! I know I can. Then there is that amazing quote from F.D.Roosevelt (of all people) that says “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I believe this expression is perfectly reflected (pun intended) by the Devil card.
I got the Fool as my current reflection, the one I am actively cultivating. I intentionally perceive myself as innocent, as not having all the facts together, as open to new experience without an ego and without an attachment to the outcome. In a lot of ways, this self-perception has kept me safe from the things that scare me. If I am simply a Fool, a wanderer, one who has no care in the world but for the moment in front of her, then how am I responsible for facing my fears, for making decisions about my investments into the future, for investigating my own preferences and boundaries?
And the reality that the mirror is trying to express to me: Death. Another cliche phrase comes to mind: Ignorance is Bliss. And for me, to take true authority over my own life, to really honor my desires and passions and, ultimately, to face my fears, means a Death of my Innocence (or Fool-ishness). It means a Death of my mindsets (imprinted upon me by societal norm, by experience, by trauma) which indicate that my desires are selfish, disgusting and irresponsable, that my hopes will hurt the people I love, and ultimately, that allowing myself to be intimate and vulnerable with my own dreams and with the people I love, will cause more trauma.
On the Devil & Desire
The Devil (which I drew as The Mirror) has a very titillating message, one that is almost hard to believe: it is only by peering at what we are afraid of (and there is so much our society fears in the image of the Devil card in the Rider-Waite deck- bodies that cannot be read within the gender binary! Bondage! Nudity! Sexual desire!) that we realize we were not afraid of the thing- what we were afraid of was the fear itself, the anxiety of going against the norm and taking authority over our own bodies & experience.
The Devil teaches us that sometimes, the juiciest desires we have are the ones that scare us the most. What if we attempt to achieve these goals and fail? What if we achieve these goals and people hate us? Or, worst of all, what if we achieve these goals and it’s not what we thought it would be? What if we lose everything we love at this moment to achieve this goal only to be met with disappointment?
However, the Devil reflects our fears, not the threats of acting on our desires. If we are indoctrinated enough (as I certainly once was) to believe the Devil can steal our souls without our consent by tempting us to have non-procreative sex, take drugs, be gender nonconforming, follow our desires, then we are indoctrinated enough to believe our desires are faulty and that our desires themselves will lead us to suffering.
For me, the cloth that I have up over my own mirror obscures my heart’s truest desires because they are painful to acknowledge. My desire for more in my life is painful to acknowledge because it verifies that my current situation is not perfect. It is painful to imagine having more (more love, more resources, more comfort, more validation) when you are so grateful for what you have, but don’t! be! fooled! by the capitalistic, classist, Christian-doctrine-informed, sanitized & whitewashed illusion that has been placed between you & your desires.
To have what you truly want will not hurt you or anybody you love, and you have no responsibility to stay attached to someone (or a community, group or institution) who is invested preventing you from achieving your desires. You will not have to give up everything (or anything that supports your desires fulfillment) to get what you do not have. That is a lie placed upon you by an oppressive group of extremely wealthy oligarchs who benefit financially from you clinging to the little you feel you’ve fought for. Lack mentality is such a real thing, coded into our nervous systems by the trauma of growing up without, but is not reality.
When we convene with the Devil, which we can only do by acknowledging the desires we have that frighten us, the Devil saucily reveals the truth that our capitalistic society fights to keep from us: that there is enough love, enough resources, enough food and shelter for everyone on earth. That following our most sacred desires is the clearest path to achieving abundance. That the very supposition that our desires are not Ok, not safe to have, oppressive or offensive to others, is a function of our oppressive society keeping us disarmed, keeping us at bay, keeping us under its thumb.
The Devil does not chain us unless we want to be tied up. The Devil shows us the way out of any bondage we did not consent to- the way out is the path we take when we acknowledge our desires, our boundaries and our preferences, and follow them through.
A few tips on this tarot spread:
For this reading, I actually separated out the Major Arcana (those 22 cards that have the Roman Numerals and are not part of the suits of cups, swords, wands or pentacles) from two of my tarot decks- the Rider-Waite and the Emily Dickinson tarot deck. I then shuffled the two sets of Major Arcana together and used that for my reading. (Ff you only have one deck, one major arcana is fine.)
Alternatively, you could use a full deck and keep pulling until you get to a major arcana card for each of the three placements in this spread. I found focusing on the Major Arcana useful for this spread because it is a very spiritual query and the Major Arcana reveals the spiritual lessons we are working on right now (A tip I got from my own tarot mentor, Winifred Tannetta-Costello).
Don't be scared!
I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty afraid to do this spread because I knew what I was avoiding- my desires have been increasingly daunting in their authenticity and I have spent a lot of the past several months arguing with myself about whether I really wanted these things that threatened to overturn life as I know it.
However, through working this spread, I was able to identify the triggers for my anxiety around my desires- it was not because the things I wanted were so bad or scary, it was really because I was having trouble believing that I could have them, that they were possible and most of all, that I could achieve these desires without destroying everything else in my life.
And I'm happy to say that after working this spread, I can see a bigger picture. I can see how there is information I don't have about these decisions I'm making based on fear & desire. Most of all, I can see how these desires come from a place of love and of wanting to show up in the best way possible for myself and the people I care for. So, don't be scared, and feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any issues with this spread!
Blessings during the latter half of this Mercury Rx & above everything, may your desires come true in a way that removes any doubt or fear about what you deserve in this life.