Snow White, Nine of Hearts…

I’ll start by saying that this post has a happy ending. I promise.

A while back, DH and I went to look at a beautiful natural landscape, in a misguided effort to feel better than we were feeling. I was so depressed at the time that I found myself saying things like, “That’s pretty,” pointing at some awesome natural spectacle, and just the wrongness of the sound of those words made me teary. The overriding thoughts were: Nothing is for me, this world isn’t for me, nothing is pretty, everything is ugly. Automatic negative thoughts that look untrue when you write them out, or when you’re feeling better, but on that day, the bleakness was intense. I wanted desperately to be able to see the beauty. 

Why can’t I see the beauty? I thought. What is wrong with me? Appreciate the beauty! Appreciate it now–you could get hit by a truck on your drive out of here! SEEEEE THE PRETTY TREEEES!!

The happiness drill sergeant is never very effective.

When we drove away from the pretty trees, the crying-flu struck. There I was once a-fucking-gain, unable to look at anything or hear anything without feeling personally assaulted by it. I was so frustrated and exhausted. I didn’t want to be crying at all. I finally managed to become still, but when DH reached over to touch my leg, saying, “Hey, buddy,” it was like he pushed a sob-button and I started all over again.  I felt like I was going to pass out. I had catastrophic thoughts that the fierceness of my crying had dislodged a piece of my brain or short-circuited it or something. I started doing some DBT—counting objects outside the car window, trees, houses, mailboxes, one, two, three, four shutters, one, two clouds, one, two, three garbage cans—and eventually calmed.

We reached the town where we were going to eat lunch and after DH parked, I asked if we could rest inside the car until I’d fully collected myself. When I was ready, I said: “Okay. I’m going to try this, but I can’t make any promises.” Stepping out onto the sidewalk was a small act but felt giant at that moment. I was hollow and dazed.

“Don’t you want to get your cards?” DH asked, when he noticed that I’d left my Inner Child cards in the backseat. I’d forgotten that I’d brought them with us. I grabbed them.

We went into a pub, where I immediately ordered a gluten-free beer. I almost never drink alcohol in the afternoon, even if it is the weekend, but this was a medical intervention. I downed a third of it quickly, and its coolness seemed to lower all of those revved up emotions a notch. [Remember this was a while back. I wasn’t taking an antidepressant yet—so please don’t worry that I’m mixing meds and alcohol!]

I ordered another beer about thirty minutes later.

DH grinned toothily. “Yarrr!” he exclaimed, like a pirate in an argyle sweater. “Let’s get wasted!”

I smiled back, feeling like a badass for half a second. But he ended up going with the more reasonable choice of water, since he had to study, and I ended up drinking only a smidge  of the second beer. But still—let us have our moment.

This is the backdrop to my first experience with my Inner Child cards. Not exactly what I’d pictured, to say the least.

I was introduced to Inner Child cards a year ago by Sky, in our Women’s Circle. Those of you who have been reading for a while will remember that I went to this Women’s Circle during the 6 weeks right before I left for CCRM. The Inner Child cards make up a tarot deck, except this tarot looks at the messages of the cards through the lens of fairy tales and their archetypes. I kept trying to order the cards and accompanying book before I left for CCRM, but I kept getting sent only the book (twice), and no cards, until I finally had to give up and hop on a plane to Dr. Schoolcraft.

Soon after this 6th loss, our first try with donor egg, and D & C, I gravitated toward the cards again after seeing them in Connie’s waiting area. This time the cards did show up when I ordered them, with a new edition of the book.

I read the book in its entirety before approaching the deck. The authors advise you to do so in order to have a more intuitive relationship with the cards. It wasn’t always easy to read it. Sometimes its positivity and introspection seemed to mock me. Seemed to show me exactly the way I wanted to but was not able to think and feel and believe. But other times, I caught a glimpse of my capacity for faith, mindfulness, and happiness. For finding meaning in life. For living in, and generating, love. I kept reading, rereading, the book, and each time, the veil of darkness got a little lighter.

I remember one night I was in the bathtub, reading the book, and handling the cards carefully on the floor outside the tub. When I came across the “Mother Goose” card—which is III, the Empress, in traditional tarot—I stopped short and gazed at it for a long time. After reading Mother Goose’s accompanying entry in the book, I had the distinct thought: Wouldn’t it be amazing if I did a reading for myself and the Mother Goose card was in my future? I nixed the idea on the spot. That would be asking too much. Or if it did happen, it wouldn’t mean anything.

No, it would mean something. It would mean something to me, I thought.

I put it out of my mind as best as I could. Time passed. I’d pass by the cards on the living room shelf and consider trying a reading, but it never felt like the right time.

When we went to look at the beautiful natural landscape I described at the beginning of this post, I took the book and cards with me in case we ended up inspired to do a first reading on some grassy embankment near the snowy beach. But sitting there in the pub across from DH, pub-dwellers all around and television chattering in the next room, it struck me that this was the place. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You are always trying to make situations perfect. You don’t need a candle and an altar and ylang-ylang oil. Let go of control.

I brought out the cards. DH’s face lit up. He had been reading parts of the book with me in bed at night, and both of us were impressed by its potential for affecting thoughts and mood, and for guiding a person to connect with truths and processes already underway in the psyche and spirit. And opening doors to new truths.

He asked if we could do a reading for him. This, like the pub, also didn’t fit with the vision I’d had about how the first reading should go. Since it was my deck, should the first reading be mine? Is it sacrilege somehow for DH to go first? I dropped this line of thinking, liking the feel of lack of control, and handed over the deck. I read the instructions aloud to him. Shuffle. Fan. Choose with your left hand. All the while keeping your chosen layout in mind, and trying to connect intuitively with the cards. He had chosen the 3-card layout for Past, Present, and Future. He later told me that he hadn’t felt all that connected to the process of shuffling and choosing, that he couldn’t “get into” it, and so he didn’t feel that connected to his reading.

But I, on the other hand, felt very connected to mine. By the time I took the deck from DH, I was in a sort of loose space in which I wasn’t holding onto anything tightly. It was a nice flow state, something I am sometimes able to achieve while writing, making art, or singing.

When the cards were in my hands, I said, “Fifteen,” and shuffled the deck 15 times. Flow states are great because you basically just don’t question a thing that comes into your mind. You accept what arises, and that’s that. Your actions are harmonious with what is. It’s actually a lot easier to enter a flow state after a hard cry, I’ve found. That hollowness, that daze, leaves space and expansion. It also leaves you physically and mentally exhausted, which can quiet down the monkey-mind considerably. So when I thought, fifteen, I just went with it.

So that’s where I was at. I shuffled extremely slowly. I liked the way the cards felt in my hands. I liked the sound they made. At first, I was anxious that I wasn’t connecting with the experience enough, but then I let go of that, too, and found that I actually had the perfect amount of time and connection that I needed. Once I reached fifteen, I was ready.

I chose the 3-card Past, Present, and Future layout. I fanned the cards in a wide arc on the pub table and knew the time had come to choose.

The Past card was easy—it was sticking up a little above the rest in the middle of the arc, and I selected it right away.

The Present card was a little bit less clear, but as soon as I felt my mind trying to impose logic on the situation, I sank back into flow and selected what felt like the card.

When it was time to choose the Future card, logic tried to intrude again–it told me to choose one in the middle of a cluster of cards on the right that were very close together. I thought: It will be difficult to extract a card from that cluster, so you should choose from it, because the future will definitely be hard. 

Then I noticed that my left hand was actually already about a millimeter away from a card that was very easy to extract from the rest, as it was at the very left-hand end the arc, separated slightly from its neighbor. Or I could just choose this one. It’s right here at my fingertips, waiting for me.

So I did.

I remember all of these thoughts because I scribbled them down in my journal right afterward. Beaten-down me wants to eye-roll at what happened next, but the me that I like much better recognizes that I was accessing a little bit of magic. I recently read the words “we are spiritual beings having human experiences.” It felt like that.

Below are the cards I turned over and accompanying entries in the book. I’m just going to let them speak for themselves for now, and I’ll comment at another time on what they signify to me. (A lot has been changing for me and it’s going to take me some time to put it all into words.) But for now: enough words. Here’s my first reading with the Inner Child Cards:

My Past Card: IX Snow White

Snow White

The entry in the book starts by saying that the story of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” is a “major lesson concerning service to humanity and the utilization of wise discrimination.” It then proceeds to describe the fairy tale, with bit of interpretation–Snow White is on a symbolic pilgrimage when she comes across the dwarves’s home, and their number–7–signifies a major spiritual transition. “Snow White begins to grow into her higher wisdom by taking care of the gnomes,” Lerner writes.

The wicked stepmother attempts to have Snow White killed, or be killed, three times until finally Snow White falls for the poisoned apple. But she wakes up inside the glass coffin when the light illuminates her and she is reunited with her animus (the prince). “Her inner service—dutiful work for the gnomes cleaning, nurturing others, being humble—has been completed….Through the pilgrimage of Snow White, we learn about becoming whole when all the aspects of the soul life and personality life are fused and integrated. Living in an isolated or separate state will not bring happiness and contentment. The active work we are called to do in life is only partially physical, emotional, and mental. There is also our soul work, our service to humanity, the opportunity and challenge to be a ‘light to the world’….When this card appears in your reading, you are ready to receive the buried treasure of your own wisdom that dwells in the deep caverns of your ancestral past. Just as the seven dwarves assist Snow White by reviving her from the wicked perils of transformation by showering her with gems from the cave mines, you are assisted by your spiritual helpers and guides. This is a card of service and deep reflection. As you open you own heart and soul to the treasures of your own destiny, you will find many new opportunities to illuminate and bright the world around you.” ~excerpts from Inner Child Cards: A Fairy-Tale Tarot, by Isha Lerner and Mark Lerner, 2002.

My Present Card: Nine of Hearts

9 of heartsThe book reads: “A well, vessel, or cauldron can hold sacred waters for rituals, blessings, purifications, and healings. Water is the essence of all life. The answer to the question of whether the cup is half full or half empty depends on how life is being viewed at a given moment. This question is beings asked of you now.

“Along with this questions, you may be granted a wish. In the traditional tarot, the Nine of Hearts is often considered the ‘wish card.’ Your wish should reflect what you feel you deserve in life, where your heart is, and how much you love yourself. Wishing is a way to observe how well you are seeking your individual fulfillment. Can you accept a happy life? This is not an easy question to answer, and much care should go into this inquiry. Sometimes wounds of the past must be healed before you can grown into your wish. Forgiveness of self and others is one step toward greater fulfillment.

“The mermaid in this card is holding her vessel toward the waterfall to be filled. She has reached a point of acceptance in her life and is ready to have her cup run over. Hold you own cup high toward the waters of life and dare to fill it completely. Imagine the possibility of unlimited love, joy, and wisdom pouring into your heart. This may be a time for spiritual initiation or purification in your life. Believe in miracles, and follow your dreams.” ~from Inner Child Cards: A Fairy-Tale Tarot, by Isha Lerner and Mark Lerner, 2002.

And finally…you knew this was coming…of the 78 possibilities, I chose Mother Goose for my future.

My Future Card: III Mother Goose


The entry in book begins with a description of the connection between Mother Goose and the story of Mother Hathor, The Nile Goose, in Egypt, who laid the golden egg of the Sun–a solar disk referred to as the goose egg. The Nile Goose was the “creator of the world, because she produced the whole universe in a primordial egg.”

“Mother Goose is a personification of the Earth Mother, offering the abundance of life to every human soul. The ancient Egyptian symbol for the world egg was the same as for an embryo in a woman’s womb. Mother Goose brings us rhyme and riddle, and the musical humorous, and profound secrets that live within a child’s heart. In a sense, she is a ‘birthed’ of our essential mental consciousness (the radiant light of the Sun) and our feelings and emotions (the reflected light of the Moon). Mother Goose as The Empress in Inner Child Cards offers us unity with the entire world and all the kingdoms of nature. She stimulates our love for flowers, herbs, trees, birds, animals, rocks, precious stones, and the soil itself. When we are one with her, we are one with the life force of the cosmos.

“When this card appears in your reading, open yourself to the birth potential within you. The primordial egg is hatching. New life and new beginning are becoming actualized. Watch your dreams for clues about the future. Feel the abundance of life within your heart. Experience the joy of sensual touch. Let the healing powers of the plant kingdom work their magic within your mind and your etheric or energy body. Realize that each chakra or center within your etheric body is like an egg waiting to crack open and reveal its spiritual splendor. Mother Goose is the provider of a wealth of manifestation. She offers you an egg, wherein lies the whole of your universe.” ~from Inner Child Cards: A Fairy-Tale Tarot, by Isha Lerner and Mark Lerner, 2002.

More on this later! I’m going for a walk in the snow.

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. I love Tarot cards for many reasons. I’ve been contemplating reading myself lately, but now I’m definitely going to. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It sounds like this outcome brought you some peace :)

  3. Wow. I don’t normally go in for stuff like this, but every once in a while something like this comes along and makes me wonder.

    • Yeah, I don’t normally either! I’m kind of a reluctant on-off believer in things spiritual, magical, and usually just think of myself as a “seeker.” It was a strange experience but ultimately all that was happening was me asking myself—can I be happy now, and can I believe we can create a happy life in the future?

  4. Wow, I don’t think you could ask for better markers of fortune lying in wait than the wish card and the Empress. That first card is really annoying to me…seems to seriously understate what the past has held for you as “reflection” (vs. trauma, which is what it really was) but Snow White (with her trials, her near death) captures it better than the Hermit could. Hopefully Mother Goose is the first sign of a fresh start, renewal, and resolution with the New Year, mama!

    • Yeah, I was pretty much blown away by present and future. I hear you about the past but what’s interesting is that I immediately connected it to my decision to change careers, go to school for social work, social work being service to others, “dutiful work.” And of course it was a time to meet a thousand guides and helpers. By the way I love the Rachel Pollack quotes on your blog—I’d like to get her book, too.

    • And I hope you are right about the new year—thank you!

  5. Kali

     /  December 18, 2013

    I’m ordering the cards, and hope to get them in time for my holiday travel Friday! Thank you for sharing, I think this will help me in the journey to honor my intuition that I started with my Reiki training.

    • Honoring intuition—it’s so important! Even if only for your own inner peace. I hope you enjoy the cards. Now I kinda don’t want to do another reading, ever—because what could top this?


Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: