Tarot To The Rescue is a monthly feature. I’ll be tackling different life issues and showing you how tarot can be a valuable tool to help you navigate through these challenges. As a long time tarot reader, I have used the cards myself to seek guidance, check my own inner compass and find direction through those sticky moments in life. If you’d like to see me handle a dilemma here, please email me at email@example.com with your suggestion. (Please note: I am not accepting requests for actual readings on this column. I am only tackling issues in a general format. Also, this column – and tarot – is not a substitute for legal, medical or psychiatric help.)
My mother was a woman who cared a lot about her looks. She was a petite gal with thick jet black hair, hazel eyes and a delicate complexion. I always thought she was very pretty. But as she got older, I watched with a sneer as she gazed in the mirror and fretted over little lines and chin hairs.
How crazy and vain, I thought. I’ll never be like that. Oh no – I’ll even let my hair, which was prematurely gray, go all the way. Yup. I won’t dye it. I’ll be cool with the aging gracefully thang. Wrinkles? Who cares?! A few extra pounds? Relax! I’m just getting older – no biggie!
And that’s the lie I told myself for a while. But then I made the fatal flaw of examining my skin under a magnifying mirror and realized that my cavalier attitude about getting older was a sham.
As I examined the lines that seemed to have emerged overnight (along with bigger pores and flakes - plus to add insult to injury, some zits), I found myself freaking out. What happened to my beautiful, dewy skin? Didn’t I use sunscreen religiously? Wasn’t I scrupulous about cleaning my face? I even took flax oil and did yoga! Where the heck did my youth go?
It didn’t stop with the skin inspection – I began to scrutinize my hair and wondered aloud if I should dye it. I used to think the grey looked like pretty tinsel streaming through my tresses. Now I found myself worrying that I might even look older than my husband who seemed to suspiciously stop aging at 30 (he doesn’t even have a receding hairline or a beer gut).
I found that I was even madder at myself for this sudden vanity. When did I become so shallow? And when did I become my mother?
A few weeks after my depressing epiphany, I came across in interview in More magazine with Vivian Diller, a former ballerina and model, who wrote “Face It: What Women Really Feel As Their Looks Change”. Diller chatted about her own experience with getting older and coming to terms with the inevitable changes in her body and face.
What caught my attention was her “Four Steps of Beauty Mourning”: Face your uh-oh moment head on; Listen to your internal dialogue; Learn to appreciate your appearance today; Make some healthy changes. This enlightening little section gave me some wonderful sage advice for dealing with my “face crisis”. (I also banned that little magnifying mirror from my existence for good measure.)
I was inspired by this article to create a tarot spread for aging. Shuffle the cards asnd focus on getting older. Then, pick one card for each question:
- What do you need to face about getting older?
- What is your inner dialogue at this time?
- What can you appreciate about yourself right now?
- What are some actions you can take to accept yourself right now?
Using myself as an example, here is what I came up with:
1. What do you need to face about getting older?
A: Page of Swords reversed – I’m no longer the rebellious snotty teenager who snickered at my mother’s vanity. I’m also no longer as “cool” as I once thought I was. My lack of care about getting older is a farce – I’m more concerned than I thought I was. I need to realize that I am more critical of the aging process than I thought.
2. What is your inner dialogue at this time?
A: 10 of Wands – I’ve been feeling pretty down about it. What strikes me in this card is the figure – he’s bent over and hiding his face. Is that what I really want my old age to be like? Poor posture and tricks to hide my aging face? I realize I am being way too hard on myself.
3.What can you appreciate about yourself right now?
A: Nine of Swords – This is a clear sign that I am having a hard time doing so. That inner critic is stronger than I’d like to admit. Perhaps I can appreciate that I am being honest with myself about what I am feeling. I’m not in denial. I am acknowledging my fears directly. By facing what is bothering me with honesty, I can always overcome it. I can appreciate my honesty about this aging thing.
4. What are some actions you can take to accept yourself right now?
A: 6 of Swords – Mentally, it’s time to take a gentle approach during this time of transition. Meditation and contemplation will help me to move forward with grace and ease. I can put the mental turbulence and mourning behind me by adjusting my attitude from criticism to compassion.
The one thing we all have in common is that we are getting older. We can face that head on – or run from it with creams, face lifts and endless self flagellation. Or we can embrace the aging process as a time of wisdom and self acceptance.
Ultimately it is the inner beauty that will always remain no matter what happens with the body suit.
“I look forward to being older, when what you look like becomes less and less an issue and what you are is the point.”–Susan Sarandon
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2012
How do you feel about getting older? I’d love to see your thoughts – or results from using my spread in the comment section below: