Tarot for Teddy – Going Within & Going Without

Last month we introduced our new client, Teddy. He was suffering in silence with an unrequited crush on his acquaintance, a stuffed duck. We sent him off with perhaps a little more confidence in himself and a broader view of the situation.

Well, Ted has made quite the progress in his life this past month. He has begun not only a personal relationship with his friend Anatra, but also a business one. The two of them, he explained, have started a pet snack company called Seriusly Quackers -- and he is totally terrified. "I'm a quiet bear," he said. "I'm not a take charge kind of guy, and never have been. I get stuff done, and I'm quite efficient, but I don't know how  to really be in charge of things, and I don't know how to share that power with someone else. I don't want to scare her off. What should I do?

"Well, Ted," I said. "Let's look at power, and how you handle it. We'll do a spread called "Going Within, Going Without, which describes how you use and relate to power both internally, within yourself, and how you use it in a way that people can see it." I explained to him that the spread  consists of two rows of four cards each. The bottom row would describe his internal life, the top one how he extends himself into the world. You could also view this as feminine/masculine, or yin and yang. The four cards describe the four traditional elements in the tarot - earth, air, fire, and water, or respectively one's material life, one's thoughts, one's spirit and creativity, and one's emotions.  We're using The Wild Unknown, one of my favorite decks.

Teddy shuffled, and we laid the cards out as shown in the picture at left. The cards in the bottom row are The Empress, Judgement reversed, The Devil, and the Nine of Pentacles, reversed. 

The top row is Strength reversed, the Wheel of Fortune, the Four of Cups, and the Three of Cups.

"Wow, Ted," I said. "That's some serious shit. Five out of eight are Major Arcana cards, and there's only 22 of those and 56 of the minors. Well, let's have a go with this."​

We started with the lower cards, relating to dealing with power internally. ​This could be what he does that does or doesn't work, or what he might want to try. It's in the discussion that useful and important things can come out. "So the Empress is kind of like the mother of the tarot, the feminine nurturing energy--how do you think that relates to the day to day workings of your business?"

"That doesn't surprise me at all," he said. "I really like a pleasant work environment. You know, a cushy chair, nice supplies. I guess I need to feel comfortable in order to feel like I'm in the right place." 

The next two cards were a little more problematic. Judgement reversed, especially in this internal "thoughts" position, implied a lack of self-forgiveness and not letting go of previous mistakes. And the Devil card traditionally suggests addiction, or being bound to habits that aren't good for you. I wondered about his spiritual life and perhaps how he motivated himself. Teddy looked a little sheepish when I mentioned this, and I waited quietly to see if he wanted to say something.

"Aw, man," he said. "That's dead on. I'm too hard on myself. There's so many times I wish I stood up for myself, because I know I can--it's just hard. And yeah, sometimes I drink whiskey when I know I have a big decision to make, to kind of give myself a little more courage. Not a lot, but..."

"But it's easy to overlook when it's just you."

He smiled his little lopsided smile. "Yeah, but now that I'm working with Anatra, I don't want to do that. I want to be a better bear."

"I know you do," I said. "And the Nine of Pentacles, reversed, in your emotional life suggests that you really could work these things out if you try." 

"Awesome!" He pointed at the reversed Strength card and sat up a little straighter. "And that means I do need to be stronger." 

"Yes," I said. "And in the material area, in terms of how you exert power in an outward way, makes me think that this business, this new endeavor of yours is a great way for you to practice that. You can't hide behind anyone when you're in charge. And the Wheel of Fortune here means change -- it really can mean 'change your thoughts, change your world.' Remember you're strong, and remember not to be so hard on yourself, and you can really turn things around."

He nodded. "Totally cool. But I don't like that rat."

"It's not so bad," I said. "He's hiding his stuff, keeping it from the light. And it's in the spiritual spot, how you extend your energy and creativity into the world."

"Oh, so I shouldn't do THAT anymore," he said, laughing. "One of the things I love about working with Anatra is that we both get so excited about things, and then we make stuff happen. It's amazing--I would never do that by myself. It's hard for me to learn how to work with someone else, but I'm seeing how it can be so much better to share things."

"Exactly," I said. "And the Three of Cups is all about emotional support and friendship. In this position it means you have a lot of that to offer, and it may have more strength and power than you've given yourself credit for. It seems too, like you've found someone to share it with. You're a lucky bear."

He grinned, really broadly this time. "I am. I've got a lot of work to do on myself if I want to be the bear I want to be, but I think I can do it."