Together, we host Tarot by the Mouthful: a mouthwatering, multi-media culinary tour through the world of Tarot.
Sublime recipes. Soulful stories. Essays, videos, interviews and delicious surprises.
Join us every Sunday for a new installment — and get ready to sip, slurp, crunch and savor your way through the entire Tarot deck!
This week: Eight of Swords
Eight of Swords: Ever feel like you got yourself into a tight spot and you can’t see a way out? If so, you’ve felt the energy of the Eight of Swords. This card symbolizes being stuck, unable to move. A self-imposed prison. There is a way out but you’re just not able to see it at this time. Restrictions and limitations.
Kyle – Let go
“Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your vocation.”
Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384 – 322 BC)
It’s an odd question: what do you do for a living? At least it has alway struck me as such.
As Americans, we tend to orient our lives toward our work–we live to work in many ways, not work to live. The common belief is that the Europeans get the latter better than we do. I had always professed to the follow that bent too, but in reality heeded the former. (Theresa has ever insisted it is the Capricorn in me.)
Case in point, a few years ago I was living in a way I did not believe. My public career, personal interests, talents, even passion were aligned with food: its history, where it came from, how it changed our culture and our times, its spiritual aspects, the professions around it. My days were engrossed in the investigation of it, meditation on it, conversations about it, and, in some cases, up-to-the-elbows work of it. Most of my income, however, came from a different career. The way I supported my loved ones–literally put food on the table, a roof over our heads and all the other veritae of a rich life–came from work that had nothing to do with food. And like all disingenuous tasks which are contrary to our souls, I was eventually changed for the worse by it. It began to make my insides rot; the worst kind of rot, from places I had mortared up so as to not have to face the challenges they gave me. It was difficult to divest myself of this career, because I wasn’t breaking any rules. To the contrary, most people found what I did fairly glamorous and, at the very least. cool. But to me, it was far from those things; it was insidious and depletive. And I limped along, although my innermost instincts and strangers alike could see that it wasn’t my vocation.
The solution came in being able to “let go.” A phrase I have always liked in its honesty. When someone on the phone says “Well, I’m gonna let you go now,” they might just be giving you their most honest statement of the day. They are letting you go, stating between the lines “Go somewhere else with your energy, and I am going to do the same with mine. We’re done here. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I have.”
After the reliable income dropped away, I’m not going to say the following months were easy; I will stake the claim they were necessary. The path to what I firmly believe I am meant to do–what the world responds to with warmth and thoughtful appreciation–was on one plane: the metaphysical. The logical day-to-day existence of bills, savings accounts and things hoped for was on another: the physical, and it did not steam ahead on faith alone.
The Eight of Swords is a rueful card. I don’t wish it on anyone in a reading, and yet hope that it occurs in each of our lives when we need it the most. It carries baleful, sharp edges–many of them. Nick, cuts, and and even scars are par for the course as one gets past the card and on to where they could be.
Theresa – Home free
The Eight of Swords has never appealed to me. Maybe it’s because I hate feeling trapped in any way, shape or form.
When I find myself backed in a corner, my first instinct is to flee.
Long ago, I did just that with my cooking. I was running from a bad marriage and, in doing so, I abandoned my kitchen. I stopped cooking and began to rely on the convenience foods that many harried moms often turn to. Oh, and let’s not forget the steady diet of cigarettes and Mountain Dew.
Instead of nutrition, I was focusing on quickness. Numbing. Escape.
But that road didn’t lead to anywhere good. Although I was running away from my problems, I was also not feeding myself – or my soul. I was wasting away and not facing up to the work that I needed to do. Instead of being empowered, I was living like a refugee. I was starving from the inside out and the outside in.
That all changed when a dear friend said to me “kid, you can go anywhere you want but you still take you with you.”
Whoa. Profound stuff.
That one line stuck with me and I began doing the hard internal work. Which meant a lot of forgiveness work, taking responsibility for my issues instead of playing victim, and also taking care of myself.
And that lead right back to the kitchen.
As I put out my last cigarette and emptied the final can of soda, I began to cook again. My body regained the weight it needed (and then some). I filled myself with nutrients, healing, and most of all, love.
Stirring the soup one day, I found myself feeling utterly okay. That’s when I knew I was never really trapped at all. I held the key to my freedom the whole time.
Theresa and Kyle
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2016
photos from personal collection and Jessica Kaminski
Hungry for more? Click here to explore the entire Tarot by the Mouthful series, from the very first card… right up to our latest installment. Bon appetit!