This month, a reader asks the tarot how to move forwards from a devastating coming out experience.
It’s about my family. It’s not about ‘when will they, won’t they?’ It’s about when will I. I came out as trans quite a while ago, and it blew up in my face, so that I went back in the closet for awhile until I just couldn’t anymore. I came back out, and lurked around with that giant ‘T’ on my chest, so to speak, and was devastated that they weren’t there with me 100%. It’s gotten better over time, a bit, but I’m still being careful, and making it about them, and their comfort level. That’s one thing I’m doing. The other thing is that that bridge has been burned, the trans thing was just the last straw. I love them, but I’m not attached to them, because every time I try to be, I get hurt. So, how do I move forward, or fix that, or both?
Thank you so much for trusting Autostraddle and me with this dilemma.
Whilst so much of your question is focused on your family and their reactions to your coming out, I’ve focused back in on you here, with a spread that looks at your journey so far, and where you’re headed next. Inspired by your ‘bridge-burning’ comment, this spread imagines you are at the high-point of a bridge over a turbulent river of emotions. Turning one way, you look back to your recent past — the shore you left behind and the journey so far. Turning forwards, you look ahead — the next steps in your journey and a destination now in sight, where you can arrive on a new shore and start afresh. If you want to know more about that, you can view the spread here.
I’ve used the Wild Unknown Tarot for this reading — its simple, stark imagery, free from human characters or complex symbols, felt like the right choice for you.
All cards shown in this article are copyright Kim Krans of The Wild Unknown.
1. The shore you left behind
Nine of Wands
It has been a struggle. I don’t need to read tarot cards to understand that. The Nine of Wands shows that you have spent a long, long time fighting for what you believe in, fighting the good fight, battling on and growing more and more tired as your inner fire is slowly used up. This card often appears to tell us to give something one more try — a final push to win the war. Here, however, you are leaving this behind. No matter where your relationship with your family stands, the fighting is done. That part of your life belongs in the past.
2. Something that helped you
Ace of Swords
A new perspective; a new way of thinking about your life. When the Ace of Swords appears, it’s like a bolt from the blue — a flash of understanding. Facts fall into place, you understand the black and white of your situation. Here, after so much struggling and fighting, is the moment you realised that, as you put it, the bridge was burned. Swords are not ‘happy’ cards, and the realisations they bring are often truly difficult, but this card reminds you that this understanding provides you with a new starting point. The Ace is the first card in the Swords sequence — it is a starting point for developing a whole new outlook on life.
3. The hardest lesson you learned
Seven of Swords
Not everyone has your best interests at heart. That is a tough thing to understand — especially when the people concerned are your family, supposedly your nearest and dearest. It’s appropriate that you should be represented in this card as a butterfly in crysalis form — a beautiful creature on the verge of transformation, so ready to spread its wings… and yet afraid to for the sharp blades surrounding it.
When I see the Seven of Swords, I feel for the butterfly, but honestly? That butterfly will emerge and fly away, but the people waving knives around? They are the people with the real journey here. This card speaks of misunderstanding, defensiveness, inability (or unwillingness) to meet someone half way. But this is not irreparable. Despite the bleakness in this image, there is a possibility here that your family will use their swords for more honest purposes. As Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird — ‘You don’t always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it too.’
Whilst your family undergoes its own journey with understanding your gender identity and their feelings about that, you don’t need to wait around. You’re the butterfly, remember? This stuff has hurt you, for sure, but it can’t keep you down.
4. The view from the top, where you are right now
Daughter of Pentacles
So here’s where we find you now — at the high point of the bridge. Looking back we’ve just seen all those swords and struggles. And in a moment we’ll look at where you’re headed next. But right here, right now, there’s a really beautiful, new-feeling energy around you. The Daughter (called the ‘Page’ in some tarot decks) is the ‘child’ of the tarot – a character who takes her suit (Pentacles, in this case) and imbues it with a new hope, energy and enthusiasm.
Pentacles correspond to the element of earth — that is, they represent our physicality, our bodies, sex, homes, work — the material reality of our existence. There is an innocence and excitement here in relation to your relationship with your body, with your physicality, with the way you move through the world around you, and the feeling coming through strongly is that that is what you’re focusing on now.
I mention your body specifically because your question is about coming out as trans, but this could also mean taking a fresh approach to your home or your community. The energy right now is about hope and excitement, whether that’s the sudden urge to redecorate your bedroom, take up gardening, get fit, begin a physical transition, change your job… whatever! It’s about blowing out cobwebs, celebrating who you are and finding magic in your material world.
5. Next step forwards
Five of Cups
This does not mean that you are magically going to start feeling awesome about everything. You’ve been through so much — in your second email you mentioned the sensation of feeling there is a ‘hole’ where your family might be. The Five of Cups reminds you that it’s okay to feel this way.
Take the time you need to feel those sad feelings and process what’s happened. Not returning to the fight, not dragging up old hurts, but accept that there is still sadness here. That is 100% okay. Over time, this will dissipate and you’ll be able to focus more on what you have, but don’t feel that you have to be all ‘super-positive new start woo!’ right now.
6. Something to help you
On the other hand, you’ve got ‘permission’ here to go a little wild! Indulge yourself, be bad, have fun, be materialistic. You’ve been through a lot. The Devil can be a heavy card, often pointing out that a person has lost touch with their spirituality or morals through overindulgence. In your case, it’s saying ‘sod it – just go for it.’ Time to have fun without over thinking, time to enjoy life where you can without going too deep.
I’m not necessarily advocating that you go on some three-month bender here — but it’s time to go and have some unfettered fun and not worry too much about what other people think of you. Let your devilish bad side out for some fun!
7. Arriving at the other side
Daughter of Swords
Another daughter, another child. As you go through this process of a) allowing the sad feeling to happen and pass naturally and b) letting yourself have a bunch of fun, something deeper is happening. You start to get a grip on the purpose of that Ace of Swords we saw in position two. You gain the confidence to pick it up and use it — in your own unique way. Remember how the Daughter of Pentacles takes a fresh approach to physicality? The Daughter of Swords is bringing the same excited, fresh energy to your intellectual side — to your appreciation of justice, of cause and effect, of what you believe about life and how it should be lived.
It’s such a beautiful destination — I felt really moved for you when I laid this card down. It’s here, once you’ve been through this whole big tumultuous and emotional journey, that you cross the bridge over your troubled waters and finally land on a new shore where you are able to confidently, through fully, define your own truth.
Good luck! Have fun! Go very easy on yourself, appreciate how hard the journey has been and that the time for fighting is done. The strongest message, conveyed most strongly by those two ‘Daughters’, is to find joy and excitement in being totally yourself.
Are you a tarot reader or learner? What do you think of the cards in this reading? If you have a different take on these cards or your own interpretation of this reading, please add your ideas in the comments!
Got a question? Ask my cards! Email beth [at] autostraddle [dot] com
Rules and disclaimer-type thing for readings:
- In sending in your question, you’re allowing Autostraddle to publish your dilemma for like a million pairs of curious eyes to see.
- But don’t worry – we’ll keep you completely anonymous (and we’ll let you know in advance if your dilemma has been picked.)
- No third party stuff. This is all about you. That means no “does she love me?” and no “why is she doing this to me?” Sorry guys, but that shit ain’t cool.
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