How Tarot Cards Saved My Life

CN: graphic suicidal thoughts

I love the tarot. This deck of 78 archetype-based cards has been a guiding force in my life for a few years now. I start each day by drawing two cards for guidance, and then further consulting the deck sporadically with specific questions in mind. 

Last fall, one of those specific questions saved my life.

Let me back up a bit: this has been quite the year. In addition to current homelessness and health debacles, I've been to the mental hospital twice. My mother died from suicide 20 years ago, and I have clinical depression — something I’ve described as "suicide thought storms." It's something that I shamefully managed on my own with meditation and cannabis for over a decade, but couldn't handle alone any longer once my body became excruciatingly painful due to fibromyalgia and severe B12 deficiency, which nearly killed me in 2015. (Because it can do that.) 

In the spring of 2017, about a year ago, I had to check myself into a hospital for several days because I feared that I wouldn’t survive the night. I had just gotten a denial of Disability payments, a hope I’d been clinging to far too tight, and felt utterly without hope. And it happened all over again last fall, hopelessness to the point of very literally wanting to give up. I moved to California between the two incidents (for my health) and was staying with a friend from college. Two days before the second time, I had gathered that they were going to kick me out — and I didn't know anyone for hundreds of miles. 

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I was going to be homeless. 

The thought was too much; it had been so hard for so long. I just couldn’t do it. I decided to kill myself. I rather peacefully accepted that I couldn't take it any longer. That it was finally time to end all the pain and struggle once and for all. 

I was going to take all of my Amitriptyline pills and never wake up.

But for some reason, I gave myself a tarot reading before taking them. I've been doing my readings for about four years now, ever since a professional blew my mind with her accuracy and helpful wisdom. They've helped guide me through the hardest times of my life, keeping me hopeful before my diagnoses — during all of the terrifying cancer tests, all of the painful waiting. And then through two years of near-complete isolation when I was too ill to leave my studio apartment without help. Being able to connect to my inner wisdom in such a clarifying way gave direction to my intuitive feelings, enabling me to use them, rather than just ‘having feelings’ about potentials.

Once again, they came to my aid again last November. I laid out a Celtic Cross and for the "What lies above" card, the best possible outcome for my lethal plans — where I expected to see the "Death" card — was the four of swords reversed. 

The Four of Swords reversed can be seen at the top of the spread.

The four of swords is a resting man that appears dead. When a card is reversed, it refers to the negative aspects of the card. A common interpretation for this one: a coma. The other cards also laid out the situation with great accuracy and told me nothing of mortality or endings, but instead to work harder and be more realistic. That might sound like a downer of a read, but I found it to be empowering — if something is my fault then I have the power to fix it! This positive thought flew through my mind, then was quickly drowned in the river of mental despair.

But it was enough. 

The flash of hope spurred indecision about my fatal plan, getting me to Google to see if I actually had enough pills to do the job; and it turned out that I didn't. I just would have wound up with severe brain damage a coma. Without a gun, which I feel like I should be legally prohibited from purchasing, I didn't have any way to do it with a guarantee. I fell asleep, eventually, desperately trying to think of other ways I could successfully do it in the morning. But when I awoke the depression had lifted to survivable, thank god.

About 36 very rough hours later I again checked myself into a mental ward for my own safety, homeless, but not without hope.


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