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Love. The perennial issue for a client who comes for a tarot reading. When things get too confusing and we wish we could talk to someone for help, we sometimes search for online tarot reading sites.

Relationships are never straightforward, however mature or sensible we are. In addition, we are led to believe – by society, by our parents, and social network – that love is something we have to have in our lives: we must have a husband, wife, lover, children, friends. And therein lies the problem – all these people have their own lives, they are not accessories. Unfortunately that’s how many of us see them: someone who adds to the comfort of our own lives.

But this is not love, which is one of the most powerful feelings in the world. It often comes upon us like an arrow speeding on its way from the arrow of some benevolent god or a whimsical universe. It can grow on us slowly and almost imperceptibly, out of friendship or even propinquity. It can begin with a baby’s cry, or the trust in someone’s eyes. It is about connection, the feeling we belong, we have value. When it begins, we feel as though the world has changed from monochrome to brilliant colour: anything is possible now. In addition, when sex is involved, the power of love is ramped up by an order of magnitude, which is where we usually have the problems – we get addicted to one particular person, and can’t imagine how we can live if they don’t feel the same, or if their feelings change.

Sadly, when we fall in love, especially at the beginning, we project huge amounts onto the other person. This means we ascribe the other person qualities that really belong to ourselves: imagination, generosity, intelligence, unselfishness, tenderness, etc. (Later on these positive projections often switch over to the negative, and instead of imagination we see the other person’s faults – stubbornness, lack of imagination, stupidity, selfishness – but they are still more likely to be our own, projected onto the other person.) It’s like a curtain falls in our brain, preventing us from seeing others as whole people, which is the reason so many relationships fail: they are based on nothing more than smnoke and  mirrors.

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This stage of love is where tarot readers often get desperate calls … ‘is it possible to see you today’. You can tell that it’s about reassurance about a relationship. ‘My boyfriend has stopped calling, does he still love me?’ or, ‘we broke up a month ago, will he (or she) come back?’

Regrettably, the tarot is not a miracle cure, or all readers would be rich. Nor do the cards display much in the way of reassurance in these situations. If someone has decided a relationship is over, it’s unlikely that they will return or, if they do, the relationship is unlikely to prosper – unless the underlying problems are dealt with, and that takes self-awareness and willingness by both partners to look honestly at themselves. The cards will just reflect that reality. 

It is possible to build a good, long-term loving relationship. However, the process is still liable to be challenging in the extreme, because all relationships (even those at work or in the family) reflect every issue we need to look at – everything we dislike about ourselves will be mirrored in the relationship itself. One-to-one relationships are like a triangle – you, the other person and the connection itself (if you have children, they just add to the complexity). The triangle is a very stable entity, but that tends to hamper movement. Like it or not, where there’s life, there is change, and the more we try to prevent it, the more it happens. The outside world impinges upon us, and forces change upon us… not always benevolently. One partner loses a job. Or someone dear to them. One wants to move home, the other doesn’t, or hates the new place. One partner becomes very successful, or is left a huge amount of money, while the other is left feeling inferior or angry. It is very rare that you will get two people changing in the same way at the same time. And, of course, then the differences mount and communication stutters and, before you know it, the relationship is in trouble.

All these issues are compounded by societal pressures, as many people consider that their lives are not worthwhile unless they are in a relationship and, given the importance of love and the need for connection, that’s not surprising. What society doesn’t emphasize enough is that relationships will fail, unless both people in a relationship are authentic and willing to see the other’s point of view. They also need to be able to live a fulfilled, satisfying life as independent human beings. There are of course many other factors that aid or kill off relationships, but as a reader I have been astonished at how naive many of my clients are. They’ve found someone to love, and they then think all that it takes to have an everlasting relationship is to will it – often putting aside their own needs and beliefs to do that. But neither determination nor any sort of controlling or self-abnegating behaviour is going to make that happen. If both partners love each other enough, and can love themselves enough to see what the relationship requires, they may be successful. Otherwise, the tarot will not predict a happy ending.

Images by pokeychan and karenwafel under Public Domains CC0