According to the cards, this April is a good month to make needed changes in our lives. It's a time to dismantle old structures of existence and make space for something new. As we enter April, our efforts are aided by a Mercury Retrograde period, another bringer of change, if we embrace its forces instead of fighting against them. Very appropriately, last month's reading ended with the Nine of Pentacles, and that energy for finishing old things and moving on to what's new carries over this month with our theme card, the reversed Tower, which warns that resisting change is dangerous. It encourages us to let go of what no longer serves and to openly discover whatever is next.
Jump to any week of April now
I'm using the Motherpeace Tarot for this month's spread, which happens to be first deck I consulted when learning to read cards. Created by Vicki Noble and Karen Vogel, it was first published in the early 1980s by US Games and is now available in standard and mini sizes. Its images are also featured in a recent Dior fashion collection, proving that Tarot is more widely accepted than ever before. One of this deck's most powerful features is its depictions of feminine culture from around the world, making it one of the first decks to deviate from standard imagery in the Tarot. Another interesting feature is its shape. Because the cards are round, I learned a flexible approach to reading reversed (upside-down) cards. A deck like this encourages us to see each card, and each life situation, almost like a mini Wheel of Fortune in which there are shades of meaning between the two poles. See more of the Motherpeace deck here!
And now, here's a look at this month's overall spread:
Theme Card for April: The Tower (reversed)
When the Tower card comes up in a reading, whether upright or reversed, it can be alarming. In the upright, we've been conditioned to think of it as disaster, the sort of sudden, unavoidable life-crashing scenarios we all hope to never face. But Tarot is life, and these unexpected events are part of it. Fearing them abstractly makes them far worse. I find it's helpful to think of the Tower as a bringer of opportunity, a road-opener, and a card about the process of acceptance. Yes, change of any kind can be, at best, a hassle and, at worst, completely disruptive, but ultimately the dust settles, and we experience a new normal. In terms of the Tarot, specifically the Fool's Journey narrative of the Major Arcana, the upset of the Tower is followed by the renewal and fresh hope of the Star, which gives us the inspiration to rebuild the structures of our life as we see fit. Tower moments also vary from large to small, internal to external, and shift significance depending on the reading's context. These pieces of Tarot wisdom give me a more positive outlook when I encounter the Tower in a spread.
Depending on the guidebook you use, the Tower in reverse can indicate disruption, only less severe, or it can mean that needed change is being avoided. This might be from fear, or it might be because we don't realize our complacency is holding us back. Be it a relationship that's run its course, a job that no longer fuels us, or even a city that we've outgrown, without the intervention of a Tower moment, we wouldn't make the leap to the next more fitting situation or would delay it much longer than is necessary. This month the reversed Tower gives us a gentler push to be our own agents of change. It asks us to be fearless in facing hard truths and following up with action. It warns that change is inevitable in life, and if we don't usher it in willingly, eventually we may face the Tower's full force. Even minor adjustments to our existence can satisfy this card. It only wants to be sure we keep growing as individuals.
Exercise for this month: Your relationship to change
In the Motherpeace deck, as in many other decks, the Tower card shows a tall structure being struck by lightning, but the main character's actions are very different here. Rather than falling powerless from the top of the tower, this figure is boldly channeling the lightning from her perch at the tower's top. In the shadow of a great eclipse, she works with this energy instead of fearing or resisting its power. She harnesses its energy to use for the good of her community and herself. How might the energy of change help you reinvigorate your life? Perhaps the best way to answer that is to examine how you feel about change.
Consider the following:
• What was the last significant/challenging life change you faced?
• Was it forced on you, or did you seek it out?
• List all the major aspects of your life (work, relationships -- both present ones and past ones you still think of often, creative projects, living situations, etc.). How long have you been in each situation?
• Which of these aspects are unquestionably still relevant/essential?
• Are there aspects you uphold only out of habit or unhealthy attachment?
• You don't need to act on anything right now; just consider. If you're feeling afraid of change even when it is purely an idea, carry a grounding stone in your pocket this month to comfort you. Hematite and black tourmaline are said to offer that kind of grounding energy and keep negativity and fear at bay.
Weekly Tarot Card for April 2-8
Ace of Wands
As mentioned in the description of this month's theme card, the Tower, events in the Major Arcana are followed by the brightness and inspiration of the Star. While we don't have that exact card in our spread this month, we do have a similar burst of inspiration and positivity with the Ace of Wands, a card that indicates an imminent fresh start. A card of desire, will, and creation, the Ace of Wands guides our first steps toward embracing new opportunities. Where I am in the Northern Hemisphere, fresh energy abounds as spring unfolds in green sprouts and colorful flowers. In the Motherpeace Tarot's depiction, a child bursts forth from a cracked egg, also very fitting for this season of emerging life. How can we use this energy to propel us into the future instead of falling back into old patterns? The current Mercury Retrograde reminds us that letting go of the past before beginning something new is helpful. We should continue to take advantage of its energy for sweeping out the corners while we prepare to launch full-force into whatever is next. Change incorporates aspects of finishing and beginning, the perfect combination of our Tower theme card and the Ace of Rods.
Exercise for this week: Recognizing opportunity
Look back at this month's exercise with the reversed Tower (or complete that exercise now if you haven't yet). It will help you see where opportunities may be available. Choose one aspect of your life you want to change, and visualize possible outcomes. What are the first steps to making it happen? Begin acting on that in any way you can. This does NOT have to be a complete overhaul; even one simple action is taking advantage of the current energy for dismantling and rebuilding. Let's say you determined you need a change of scenery and would like to relocate. Moving is overwhelming, and not something you can necessarily just do, or do quickly. Choose one thing that is a barrier toward that progress and dismantle it. For example, go through all your drawers, getting rid of anything you no longer need and making what you do need more accessible. Though this is a small step, it is making use of the retrograde energy for letting go and is a symbolic gesture that encourages your mind to continue toward your goal of a larger change.
Weekly Tarot Card for April 9-15
Five of Swords
Mercury Retrograde ends this week, and as that planet goes direct again, it's a great time to push forward with our plans. The Five of Swords is a victorious card in many ways, but it is not without challenges. As is often the case in the wisdom of the Tarot, victories achieved through force come at a cost. Great ambition sometimes drives us to win at all costs, and we might temporarily behave in a selfish manner to accomplish these goals. The sort of changes we are considering ushering in this month, encouraged by our theme card, the reversed Tower, have the potential to cause this kind of disruption; if we are following our truth into action, we may have to serve others with disappointing revelations. This card reminds us of that with the yellowjacket hovering in its the center, ready to sting. Many people notice that communication can be challenging during a Mercury Retrograde, so our actions may also come with unforeseen consequences. Even if we think we have acted with compassion and communicated with truth, the necessity of our actions might not have been fully understood by others.
The Motherpeace Tarot's instruction booklet explains that cards appearing tilted to the right, as this one is, indicate energy is being directed more forcefully than necessary. Perhaps we don't need to push quite so hard to implement change this week. To continue with the example from last week's exercise, let's say we are moving homes and need to communicate dividing shared property with a roommate. We are expecting a fight over ownership of these items, so we enter the discussion more aggressively than is needed, causing a fight that could have been avoided if we hadn't made assumptions. Mounting an unnecessary defense adds stress, so save those preparations for situations in which they are truly warranted.
Exercise for this week: Righting wrongs
One of the first steps to achieving a clean slate is making amends for oversights and harm we have caused. Even if we feel our actions were justified, leaving others damaged in our wake can haunt us. It creates resentments and damages everyone's ability to lead productive lives. What can you do now to settle any unfinished business so that the ghosts of your past do not invade your future? Apologies can come in many forms, from written to verbal to some sort of tangible currency.
Remember that you can't force someone to forgive if they are not ready. You can only offer sincere explanations and reparations for your actions in hopes that the other person is ready to receive the apology. If not, give them the time they need. Remember, this is about your actions, not what others have done or not done. Don't allow yourself to be sucked back into an emotionally harmful situation.
If the changes you are making don't involve other people, use this time to reflect on how you have treated yourself. Do you need to forgive yourself for anything? Write yourself a letter; be honest about old wounds or feelings of shame from past actions. Describe what you have learned since.
Weekly Tarot Card for April 16-22:
Four of Swords
This week the Four of Swords confirms it's time to rest and reflect as the dust settles on recent changes we have implemented. Any time big shifts occur in life, it's necessary to take stock, checking in with the self to confirm aspects of identity and renew personal truths. In the discussions of the previous weeks' cards, I've been using the example of moving homes to illustrate our theme of dealing with change. I actually did move homes recently, so these examples aren't arbitrary! It was a huge change after spending five and a half years in one place (and came as a full-on Tower moment that I had been resisting). After the hard work of moving, I was tempted to reassemble my life as closely as possible to the old one, putting up the same pictures, recreating old furniture arrangements, but instead I took some time to get to know myself in the new situation. What still suited me, and what needed to be altered to fit these surroundings?
Exertion transforms us. We learn we are capable of a lot more than we thought, and it's important to incorporate this new perspective into our identities. We also owe it to our minds and bodies to honor those efforts with recuperation. In the Motherpeace deck's imagery, the Four of Swords shows a figure self-isolated inside a meditation pyramid designed for healing and chakra activation. Obviously, it's not realistic for most of us to enjoy a fully sequestered retreat any time we need rest and recuperation. We have jobs, families, and other responsibilities than can't be extensively put on hold. But even with those responsibilities, it is possible to find time for healing and reflection, often in connection with self-care activities that are already part of our regular routines. It's just a matter of adding some extra awareness into these actions.
Exercise for this week: Realigning the self
How might you create mini-retreats inside of your busy life? Take a walk around the neighborhood, sit in silence in a favorite place, or enjoy a cup of tea at the local café while you write down your thoughts about recent experiences. If it's too tough to carve out this extra time, turn one of the times you already spend alone taking care of your basic needs into a personal ritual. For example, use bath or shower time as a mini-retreat by increasing awareness of the activity as yours and yours alone. Be present with yourself instead of just going through the motions as a means to an end. Select a special scented soap or add salts and herbs to your bath. Play your favorite relaxing music. Be aware of each part of your body and how it feels as you honor it through cleansing. If you have trouble finding time alone, don't be ashamed to ask for help; perhaps you can trade breaks with a co-parent or a friend who is also in need of a little self-care.
You might also take a suggestion from this illustration in the Motherpeace Tarot and give some attention to each of the chakras as a way to reconnect with the self. You can do this through meditation, if that is your practice. (Peacock Ore is said to be a great stone for realigning all the chakras, so consider incorporating a piece of it into your session.) If you prefer to engage with these concepts in a more cerebral way, try a journaling exercise exploring how each of the following are represented in your life. Give extra attention to any that seem underrepresented:
Weekly Tarot Card for April 23-30:
The Sun ends this month's reading on a positive note, encouraging us along our path of growth. This deck's card shows a celebration of different animals and humans under the vast golden rays of the Sun, a scene of warmth, togetherness, acceptance, and community. This indicates we have embraced the suggestion of the reversed Tower, our theme card, and have begun the work needed to better our lives.
As we saw earlier in this spread with the Five of Swords, the Sun card appears slightly tilted to the right, which in the Motherpeace Tarot suggest the card's energy is being somewhat forced. If we factor that subtle positioning into our interpretation, it could indicate we don't feel we've fully reached this place of freedom and are still striving, making the celebration feel forced and premature. If you aren't feeling like celebrating with others just yet, don't force it. I know I'm still unpacking all these boxes and finding the perfect place for each beloved object to rest. When I'm finished, I'll have a big party to thank all the friends who supported me during this transitional time.
Exercise for this week: Advocating for the self
If at the end of this month's journey it's OK if you do not feel 100% sunny. Growth is ongoing, and you've made a great start, no matter how large or small. There's nothing wrong with admitting you don't feel completely confident. Vulnerability isn't a shortcoming. While April's spread has been a positive one overall, it has asked us to do some hard work. Each card has presented a call for action:
• The reversed Tower warned against stagnation, asking you to question assumptions regarding your path through life
• The Ace of Wands wanted you to follow your discovered passions into something new
• The Five of Swords wanted you to act boldly, but responsibly, to assert personal truths
• The Four of Swords reminded you to make time for healing, which seems passive but is, in fact, a great responsibility
Revisit each stage of this month's journey and find the next step in your process. Make a list of fears connected with each card. If it would help, share your concerns with a trusted friend, someone who knows you well and can help you dismantle these concerns or face them head-on. You are not alone. All things become clear in the light of the Sun.
We've accepted change as a necessary part of life, and can celebrate our efforts cautiously, knowing our adjusted path suits us well. It may take some time to feel truly harmonized again; next month's theme card is the reversed World, so some struggle with rebalancing is on the horizon. We should trust this process, remaining adaptable, knowing we are on a longer road to greater self-knowledge and more authentic living.