Fool’s Journey: Moving Beyond a Difficult Coming Out Experience

This month, a reader asks the tarot how to move forwards from a devastating coming out experience.

The dilemma:

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.

Reading

The Reading

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.

Nine of Wands

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.

Ace of Swords

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.

Seven of Swords

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.

Daughter of Pentacles

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.

Five of Cups

6. Something to help you

The Devil

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.

The_Devil

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.

Seven of Swords

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.
  • This is entertainment. I am so not responsible for anything you do as a result of your reading and neither is Autostraddle. Dear reader, you are a full-grown person with a brain and you (not I) are 100% in charge of your own destiny. You wouldn’t want it any other way.

Beth Maiden is a tarot reader and writer based in Machynlleth, mid-Wales. She has two cats, a hot builder girlfriend, far too many tarot decks and not enough coffee cups. She's really into bread, the colour red, camping and brand new notebooks. She'd love to cut your hair, read your cards or hang out with you on her blog, Little Red Tarot!

Beth has written 111 articles for us.

19 Comments

  1. Nice deck!
    I have a tarot deck as well as oracle cards, but I tend to fall out of touch with the latter and my brain’s too muddle to get an accurate perception at times. You seem to have it quite together. :)
    Reading tarot is a very great skill to have, such great insight!

  2. This is lovely! I had drawn the devil in a similar position as the one above and really struggled with what to do with it. This reading was really helpful, not only for the devil card, but also for a fresh way of interpreting the tarot. I have a tendency to go pretty literal, but looking at the individual elements and seeing how they fit together (suit and card type/number) while obvious, is something I tend not to do. Thank you for another great post, and for introducing me to tarot in the first place!

    • That’s interesting Kelsey – I certainly think that a literal interpretation can often be the best. I’ve spent ages in the past agonising over the finer points of a reading…only to realise that the answer was staring me in the face all along, but was almost too literal for me to see!

      That said, it’s really amazing when you start taking your readings to the next level by examining the correspondences between the cards. Glad you found this post useful from a learning perspective : )

  3. AS, I’m kind of sad that I clicked on this expecting a YouNeedHelp and instead I got tarot cards… Nothing against you Beth, but I think this is a step backwards (and weirdwards) from advice generated by real people’s hearts and brains.

    I know everyone’s niche has its place and I’m not saying you I think this shouldn’t be published, or that it’s bad or anything… I don’t really know what I’m saying. I guess I’m just registering my interest in not-this.

    As you were.

      • As a seasoned runester, I believe tarot cards do provide advice. This reading could have been for me. I have the same problem as a transgender woman, and as a witch since 1999 it has been my experience that readings involve a subjective opinion as well as the objective mystical result! Runes are a separate class of magic, it should be noticed, yet it works for this Wiccan/Heathen. I’ve never had a false rune reading, but I’ve misinterpreted a few runes, given myself bad advice or failed to follow my own instincts. It’s far more likely, because of the observance of patterns outside the diviner herself, that advice stemming from divinatory work will be helpful! It’s supposed to be weird, for this word comes from the name of one of the Norns: Wyrd! I didn’t want to shove my opinion in the face of the original commenter, but here it is as a separate comment…

        • As a seasoned runester, I believe tarot cards do provide advice. This reading could have been for me. I have the same problem as a transgender woman, and as a witch since 1999 it has been my experience that readings involve a subjective opinion as well as the objective mystical result! Runes are a separate class of magic, it should be noted, yet it works for this Wiccan/Heathen. I’ve never had a false rune reading, but I’ve misinterpreted a few runes, given myself bad advice or failed to follow my own instincts. It’s far more likely, because of the observance of patterns outside the diviner herself, that advice stemming from divinatory work will be helpful! It’s supposed to be weird, for this word comes from the name of one of the Norns: Wyrd! I didn’t want to shove my opinion in the face of a non-believer, but here it is as a separate comment…

      • I know there’s an occasional spirituality column that started around the same time as this one, Beth; is it also under the advice category? I do think we need another category, but that’s not up to me.

  4. As a seasoned runester, I believe tarot cards do provide advice. This reading could have been for me. I have the same problem as a transgender woman, and as a witch since 1999 it has been my experience that readings involve a subjective opinion as well as the objective mystical result! Runes are a separate class of magic, it should be noted, yet it works for this Wiccan/Heathen. I’ve never had a false rune reading, but I’ve misinterpreted a few runes, given myself bad advice or failed to follow my own instincts. It’s far more likely, because of the observance of patterns outside the diviner herself, that advice stemming from divinatory work will be helpful! It’s supposed to be weird, for this word comes from the name of one of the Norns: Wyrd! I didn’t want to shove my opinion in the face of a non-believer, but here it is as a separate comment… (If this has been elsewhere, help me remove it! I cannot seem to delete posts, edit anything, and when I made absolutely sure to not post this as a reply it was posted as a reply twice. I’m flummoxed!)

  5. This is the first time I’ve read an article in this column (ah, skepticism!), but I thought it was so great! Even if this hadn’t been a card reading, I feel like the advice given would be very good anyway. And the deck is magnificent! I’m off to read the previous ones.

  6. Ah, so tarot is left of the left and a walk on the ‘weird’ side, but I think it’s awesome! Love this, it gives me hope for people. Whether the querent (is that the right word?) runs or not when they get out of the chrysalis (I hope the family does something good with their swords, I don’t really understand that part though), or the querent stays and sweeps the cobwebs away where they are, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It just shows anyway, that they’ve got themselves, and themselves are rad and cool. It’s cool too that here they’re shown that they’re allowed to hang with the devil (and of course dance like the devil!) once in awhile to shake it all off (I don’t think he’s a bad guy, I don’t picture the fire and brimstone version). The deck is beautiful, good vibes, and I think you’re fabulous!

  7. I thought you should know that someone appears to have scraped this article to their site, I found it when checking to see if my own stolen work had been taken down yet. You’ll find it here: https://trangmoschino.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/the-dilemma-its-about-my-family-i-love-them-but-im-not-attached-to-them-because-every-time-i-try-to-be-i-get-hurt/.

    I have had trouble having some of my own content taken down from that site, so I want others to work on constantly sending DMCAs until Automattic gets the message and shuts them down.

  8. Your article has been scraped to another site, it is trangmoschino.wordpress.com. I saw it there when dealing with my own content that had been stolen and thought you’d want to know.

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